Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gaffes Examples: 2012

ROMNEY: Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally Israel.
-- Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), October 22, 2012, during the third presidential debate in Boca Raton, FL, between Romney and President Barack Obama.

Comment: Strictly speaking, this is false. Iran borders the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Given his mention of Lebanon, Romney clearly meant that Syria is Iran's route to the Mediterranean Sea, which is true. Romney's opponents, though, probably won't make this charitable interpretation.

RYAN: "Mitt Romney’s a good man. He cares about 100 percent of Americans in this country. And with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way."
BIDEN: "But I always say what I mean. And so does Romney. … The idea -- if you heard that -- that little soliloquy on 47 percent and you think he just made a mistake, then I think you’re -- I -- I think -- I got a bridge to sell you."
-- Vice President Joe Biden, October 11, 2012, during the vice presidential debate in Danville, KY, between Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Comment: Biden is saying that Mitt Romney's (paraphrasing) "47% of the people don't take personal responsibility" remark was not an accidental misstatement but an expression of what Romney really believes. If Romney "always says what he means" just like Biden does, then does that mean none of Biden's gaffes -- such as falsely claiming to have graduated with three degrees in the top half of his class -- are accidental misstatements? As is usually the case with gaffes in politics, you forgive the gaffes on your own side as just innocent tongue-twisting, while brandishing the gaffes of your opponents as evidence of their evil or stupidity.

"President Obama needed a do-over to spell “Ohio” correctly on the campus of Ohio State University this week. Although Obama and several students at a campaign stop Tuesday morning at Sloopy’s Diner on the campus of OSU tweeted out photos of the president correctly posing as the “I” in Ohio, another student supplied a photo of a spelling mishap to Mitt Romney’s campaign. The photo, tweeted by Romney’s Ohio communications director, Christopher Maloney, shows Obama and three students all a little confused about how to spell the state’s name, with Obama holding his hands up in what seems to be an “H” and as the third letter. “A word of advice to @BarackObama: It's ‘O-H-I-O’ that has 18 electoral votes, not 'O-I-H-O,’ ” Maloney tweeted."
-- Story from The Hill, posted August 22, 2012, regarding a photo taken August 21, 2012.

Comment: Not only did Obama and his partners misspell "Ohio", Obama's critics misspelled their misspelling: the photo shows Obama and the students spelling out "O-I-H-I", not "O-I-H-O".

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