COMMENTARY | The National Journal ran a story declaring "Romney: Gaffe Free and Winning" on January 8. That was just before the front-runner let loose with a series of gaffes ranging from not caring about poor people to enjoying the prospect of firing people and saying how little he received in speaker fees ($374,000).
Suddenly, Romney found himself in a dogfight with a guy who hadn't held elected office since 1998 and another underfunded politician who was booted from office by nearly 20 percentage points.
So when ABC News wrote "Where did all the gaffes go?" on May 8, I had to cringe. Declaring Romney "gaffe-free" is like telling a pitcher he's throwing a no-hitter.
Sure enough, Romney claimed "he deserves 'a lot of credit' for the recent successes of the nation's largest car companies. That claim comes in spite of his stance that Detroit should have been allowed to go bankrupt," according to Steve Peoples' article in Yahoo News.
Romney must still think it's some era where folks can't pull up his 2008 opinion column in the New York Times where he opposed the rescue package for the auto industry, and guaranteed its demise. He can't even say he was misquoted, because he wrote the column!
Thankfully, Obama didn't listen to Romney. But voters in Michigan did. Despite Romney's roots in the state, and his dad's connection to Michigan, he needed to pull out all the stops to edge out Rick Santorum, underfunded and normally too conservative for the state.
Here's how Matt Negrin saw the GM gaffe. "Some, especially those on Team Obama, might argue that Romney gaffed today by taking credit for the auto industry's recovery, even after writing an op-ed perfectly headlined 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.' But we disagree. The truthfulness of a comment doesn't determine a gaffe, but rather the degree to which the candidate wishes he could turn back time and erase the comment from history. We suspect Romney will continue to argue his point on the car bailout."
If Romney keeps up with this Edsel-esque comment, you can pretty much pencil Michigan into the Obama column. Sorry, Matt, but gaffes are, in reality, more about accuracy. The politician who keeps supporting a dumb comment isn't helping his or her cause.
- Politics & Government