By Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor
We all make mistakes, but politicians’ errors often seem far greater and they’re certainly far more public. Gaffes are one thing that certainly cross party lines.
1. At a July campaign event in Virginia, President Barack Obama said, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” It was a distasteful statement for many small-business owners to hear in a struggling economy. Taken in context, the meaning shifts somewhat, but many still saw it as a slap in the face.
2. Occasionally, the president also has trouble counting. While rallying supporters in Florida in September, Obama said, “we’re selling goods around the world stamped with three proud words: Made in the U.S.A.” Apparently four words just weren’t as “proud” as three.
3. For every error Obama makes, Vice President Biden makes 10 more. In August, Biden made a controversial comment regarding the House GOP budget and Wall Street regulation. He told the crowd in Virginia, “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
The metaphor, coupled with the presence of many black people in the crowd, was seen as a cheap historical jab.
4. While rallying a crowd in Detroit later that month, Biden said, “Folks, I can tell you I’ve known eight presidents, three of them intimately.” Just how “intimately” Biden knew these presidents wasn’t clarified.
5. When speaking before a group of New York University students in April, Biden tried to liken Obama to Teddy Roosevelt. He referenced Roosevelt’s famous foreign policy of “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Unfortunately, his paraphrasing conveyed a different meaning, as he said, “I promise you, the president has a big stick.” Understandably, laughter erupted in the crowd of college students.
6. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a colorful array of missteps, too. In January, Romney said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.”
Romney was trying to emphasize his commitment to the middle class, but wound up looking insensitive.
7. Seven months later in Virginia, Romney introduced his running mate by saying, “Join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan.”
Perhaps we should be a little concerned Romney has such a pessimistic view of how long he’ll last in the White House.
8. Romney commited his most recent gaffe during the second debate, when he tried to affirm his support for women’s equality. He explained that when he was governor and wanted to hire women, advocacy groups sent him “binders full of women.” The odd phrase went viral and a website http://bindersfullofwomen.com was created only 90 seconds after Romney spoke the words.
9. Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, became a little confused about literal running. In August, he stated that he’d run a marathon when he was 20 in “two hours 50-something minutes.”
As cross country runners can tell you, that’s an unbelievably excellent time. Indeed, it was too good to be true.
Fact checkers later found it had taken Ryan over four hours to complete his race.
Of course, long before the Romney and Ryan team, there were a slew of other Republicans considered for the candidacy and the primary.
10. In January, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich drew in mockery by telling a crowd in Florida, “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon. And it will be American.”
Why Gingrich believed Americans would care about moon colonies in the middle of an economic crisis here on earth is unclear.
Gaffes may not be the most important part of an election year, but they sure do make it entertaining.