Mitt Romney may be leading the underwhelming Republican presidential field in fundraising, but he also has a less dubious distinction he leads the pack in committing professional-grade gaffes. We speak here not of policy change of hearts or a sometimes inscrutable grasp of foreign policy, but of the pedestrian media misstatements that any politician racks up over a life time and Romney has piled them up in just a few months. His campaign is sanguine over the flubs. (The Romney camp employs staffers with an above average sense of humor). Says national spokesman Kevin Madden, "Since I'm the one that gets the bulk of the phone calls and e-mails from snickering reporters on these moments of fallibility, I can say it hasn't been an entirely negative experience. I've learned that there are a lot of science-fiction fans among the press corps, I've learned more than I ever thought I would about French contract law, and I'm now an expert in the hunting permit process in the state of Idaho." Also, says Madden, Romney is under enormous scrutiny. He spends "23 hours, 59 minutes a day avoiding controversy...it's the one minute in the day where something is either lost in translation or he strays from conventional wisdom that reporters or opponents will pounce on."
For all his missteps, Romney usually excels in staged events; it's the unforced errors that puzzle campaign watchers. Whether these gaffes will alter his standing remains to be seen, but it's worth remembering that his father's presidential aspirations were dashed over just one gaffe: his ill-considered reference to having been "brainwashed." Mitt's made many more, and here are the top ten.
Next Lost in Translation