Mitt Romney has made a few honest gaffes during this campaign, as has the President. But Romney’s actual gaffes are surely outnumbered by the number of invented, bogus gaffes pushed out by the professional left. Here’s a list of ten examples from this campaign in no particular order:
- Criticizing Palestinians – The AP uses a paraphrased partial quote to write a story suggesting Romney singled out Palestinians for criticism when in fact he was merely expanding on part of his regular stump speech.
- Wawa gaffe 1 – At a campaign stop, Romney compares government and the free market using the quick mart Wawa as an example of the free market’s superiority. Andrea Mitchell runs an edited clip omitting the setup and suggests Romney is amazed by Wawa, i.e. terribly out of touch. Blogger SooperMexican finds the full remarks on You Tube and kills the bogus gaffe story.
- Wawa gaffe 2 - The other half of Romney’s story was about government inefficiency. He told the story of a doctor who received a 33-page form to change his address. James Fallows at the Atlantic and Tommy Christopher at Mediaite both jumped on this part of the story proclaiming it a lie. It wasn’t. We found the form in question an it was between 27 and 48 pages depending on the version.
- Ann Romney and “You people” – Ann Romney gives an interview to Robin Roberts and is asked about releasing her tax returns. She replies, “we’ve given all people need to know and understand about our financial situation.” Only some folks on the left hear it as “all you people need to know” and even claim there is a racial subtext. ABC listens to the tape and confirms she never said the “you” part.
- The Stench – A satirical article by Politico’s Roger Simon says Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has taken to calling Mitt Romney “the stench” behind his back. The left, especially MSNBC, runs with the story. The next day Simon points out it was clearly satire since it included lines like this: “PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanize cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets.” The fact-checkers at MSNBC somehow missed it.
- Airplane windows – After Ann Romney’s plane makes an emergency landing, Mitt makes some remarks indicating his relief that she is safe. In the midst of this, he notes that an airplane on fire is a scary thing since there is nowhere to go. He adds, in a joking aside, that windows on airplanes don’t roll down; “I don’t know why they don’t do that.” The left-wing media runs stories claiming Romney is an idiot and helpfully explaining why plane windows don’t roll down. Rachel Maddow suggests the clip could be a turning point in the election. When asked the next day, the pool reporter who was there confirms it was obviously meant as a joke. You can hear laughter on the video tape. Somehow the left missed it.
- Chanting in Ohio – After Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduces Romney at a stop in Ohio, the crowd begins chanting. Some are chanting Ryan’s name and some Romney’s. But MSNBC’s Morning Joe runs a version of the clip adding the title “Ryan!” over the crowd noise. Several left-wing outlets run stories about Romney having to insert himself into the chant because he’s not as popular as Ryan on the stump. In fact, the crowd was chanting for both men and Romney simply organized the chant so they weren’t chanting over one another.
- Hanky-Gate – Romney removed a handkerchief from his pocket and placed it on the podium during the first debate. This was allowed by the rules. After Obama’s disastrous performance, some on the left began claiming it was a cheat sheet. Other more serious outlets covered it as a viral video. It was nonsense.
- Dirty Dishes – Brian Antal, the head of an Ohio soup kitchen, claims that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) entered his facility and washed dishes that were already clean as a photo op. Later, Antal revised his story and admitted he wasn’t there when Ryan stopped by and claimed his words were mischaracterized. He also admitted that, yes, Ryan had washed dirty dishes not clean ones. The Washington Post blog which first published the story added an update which reads “Antal, who describes himself as an independent, has voted in Democratic primaries for the past 17 years.“
- Girl Shocked by Romney’s Butt? – Passing an elementary school in Virginia, the Governor notes a group of excited kids and decides to stop his motorcade and say hello. The kids are thrilled at meeting someone famous. Romney shakes each hand then takes a group photo. An AP photographer captures a shot as Romney is crouching that makes it appear the girl behind him is amazed or horrified by his butt. Of the half dozen photos of the event the AP published, this is the one picked up by news outlets around the country. The next day the AP issues a clarification stating the girl in the photo was simply excited to be so close to Romney and admitting the caption (but not the misleading gag photo) “fell short” of its own standards.
No doubt there are more invented gaffes the media has attempted to make an issue this election, but these are some of the more egregious ones which got far more attention than they deserved because they made Romney look bad.