It is so easy, especially when you aren’t tightly scripted, to say things that just don’t come out the way you mean them to.
- John McCain: When asked what will happen if he can’t convince the American public that the war in Iraq is succeeding, he said “Then I lose.” I don’t have a problem with this answer, because it’s true. John’s mistake here, in my opinion, is attempting to retract the statement. It’s one thing to say something that pundits will have fun with, it’s another to react so dramatically so as to give the pundits not just credence on the point, but additional fire power.
- Hillary Clinton: “Shame on you!” Very tepid and unnatural? Bring back Bill, at least he knows how to get riled up properly.
- Barack Obama: “Anybody got some water?” Nuf’ said.
- Michelle Obama: “Let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are ready for change…” Ouch. I can understand some of the emotion behind this, but as smart a lady as Michelle is, you’d think she’d catch this one before it came out. But indeed, I’ve said similarly stupid things… (don’t ever tell a niece that she’s the “most [something] niece” when there are other siblings. Yeah, me.)
- Mike Huckabee: “Mike Huckabee does not overstay his welcome.” Okay, that was pretty tightly scripted… it was SNL after all… but in a way he gave up control of the content to Lorne Michaels. Realistically, Ron Paul has more insight into making a case for staying in the race than Mike does. Of course, if anyone is overstaying their welcome, it’s Mike Gravel (yeah, he’s still in the Democratic race, believe it or not).
- Ralph Nader: (any argument against the idea that he messed with Al Gore’s chances… it just falls on deaf ears).
- Ron Paul: “… there will be no third party run.” That may bite him if he loses his Congressional District Republican Primary.
These are all to some extent understandable, and in some ways not as bad as some of Bush’s own gaffs.
That said, there’s another class of people whom put together their comments from behind a desk, run through spell-check, grammar-check, reviewed by an editor, and still get into the eyes and ears of the general public.
- The New York Times: “A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself – instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.” This content was later referenced  by the Times “Public Editor” (the paper’s ombudsman to the readers) as problematic because “it offered readers no proof that McCain and Iseman had a romance.”
- Tim Russert: Oh, never mind, he needs no example.
- NPR: Bloggers’ Roundtable discussion on the whole Obama Plagiarism question on the “words… words…” (please note, this text came from a speek by Barack Obama, and prior in a speech by Deval Patrick). I listened to this on the radio in my car and wished desperately that I could change to another channel, but too much sports that I wasn’t interested in at that time (basketball, auto racing). Clearly Obama borrowed from Patrick (who, I think, did not himself give credit to Kennedy, MLK Jr., FDR, or Thomas Jefferson), and clearly with permission. It was a great message, and effectively delivered, and this whole mishmash is a waste of time. We’re going to get ourselves into a spaghetti of criticisms of perceived sins, but this is like complaints in church that dancing is evil.
- Dan Rather & CBS News: Yes, I mentoned this the other day. It still amazes me that they could bring fraudulent evidence into a news report without appropriate confirmation. And frankly, I think more of that happens today than we even know about.
- Hillary Clinton (apparently on message): [Reuters]  Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton called rival Barack Obama a risky choice to lead U.S. foreign policy. Yes, Hillary’s foreign policy ability’s are second to … Ron Paul. Hillary originally thought the general election (for the legislature) in Pakistan (that was just held on Feb 18) was for the President’s position. Although her husband made some sweet deals with the Chinese as I recall.
- Barack Obama (also on message): [Reuters]  The Obama campaign accused the Clinton camp of “the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering” when a photograph of the Illinois senator, dressed as a Somali elder with white headdress and matching robe, turned up on the popular Drudge Report Web site. Did you see that? They said “Shameful”, like Hillary’s “Shame on you”. Wow! Talk about hitting hard!
It’s a wild, wacky time and lot’s of people are gonna make mistakes. I think we should give some of them a break (except for Russert).