7 Harmless Verbal Slip-Ups By Politicians That Weren't As Bad As They Seemed
At a rally in New York Monday, Donald Trump mistakenly referred to the terrorist attacks of September 11th as “7-11,” instead of “9/11.” This isn’t the kind of slip-up you want to make when you’re campaigning in New York, but in all fairness to The Donald, it's not a legitimate mark against him. Everyone trips over their words from time to time, and that goes double for presidential candidates giving a speech every day. Donald Trump's 7-11 gaffe is a common variety of verbal slip-up. It seems bad at the time, but it isn't actually incriminating in any way.
“I was down there, and I watched our police and our firemen, down at 7-11, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down,” Trump said. “I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action.”
To be clear, there are plenty of valid reasons to mock and/or despise Donald Trump, and he’s even used the memory of 9/11 for political gain in the past. But this slip of the tongue isn’t worthy of criticism, because that’s all it ultimately is: a slip of the tongue. There’s a difference between expressing a distasteful belief and just fumbling your words, and Trump clearly wasn’t intending to diminish the importance of the attacks of September 11th by comparing them to a convenience store.
Moreover, politicians make these kinds of mistakes all the time. Let’s look back some the silly but harmless gaffes of years past.
Barack Obama Says There Are 57 States
While talking about his busy schedule during the 2008, Barack Obama claimed that he’d “been in 57 states.” In all likelihood, this was the result of sleep deprivation or absent-mindedness; not an incorrect belief that there are 57 states in the country.
Mitt Romney Says Paul Ryan Will Be The Next President
Mitt Romney was introducing his running mate, Paul Ryan, at a campaign rally in 2012, and accidentally referred to him as “the next president of the United States.” Ryan, of course, was only running to be vice president.
Joe Biden Calls Obama "Barack America"
In 2008, infamous gaffe-machine Joe Biden accidentally introduced Barack Obama as “Barack America.” Honestly, I’m not totally sure what he was going for here.
Obama Endorses Inefficiencies
While promoting what would ultimately become the Affordable Care Act in 2009, President Obama said that “the reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings, and inefficiencies to our health care system.” When asked about the gaffe, then-deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said, accurately, that “everyone knew exactly what [Obama] was saying.”
Sarah Palin Decries “Squirmishes”
Sarah Palin is known for her inventive word salads, and the speech she gave endorsing Donald Trump was no exception. During an already-incoherent sentence, Palin referenced “squirmishes” between different sects of Islam. She probably meant “skirmishes,” as there’s no such thing as a “squirmish.” It wasn’t the first time Palin invented a new word.
Obama References A "Jew Tax"
In a speech on wealth inequality, President Obama characterized his policies as simply “asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor.” He instead referenced “asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew.” He quickly corrected himself.
John McCain Says He’s Older Than Frankenstein
During the 2008 campaign, John McCain liked to jokingly say, “I’m older than dirt and I’ve got more scars than Frankenstein.” At a town hall, he butchered the phrase, instead claiming that “I’m older than Frankenstein, I’ve got a few stars.” Frankenstein: Not notably old!
Politicians get a lot of criticism for a lot of reasons, and much of it is well-deserved. But let's give them a pass on verbal trips, because even though they're amusing, they ultimately don't mean anything.