Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:44 PM
LongTomH (5,090 posts)
Golden Oldies: Mitt's gaffes from way back in his first run for Prez.
From Time magazine in 2009: Tongue Tied: Mitt Romney's Top 10 Gaffes. It seems Mitt hasn't had a chance to get the taste of shoe leather out of his mouth since he began running for President:
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."
The article goes on to list Mitt's Hit Parade of Gaffes from his first campaign. This was number 2 on the list - Science Friction:
"The one by L. Ron Hubbard...I'm not in favor of his religion by any means, but he wrote a book called 'Battlefield Earth' that was a very fun science fiction book."
(May 1, 2007)
It's remarkable enough for a serious Presidential contender to name a book of genre fiction as his or her favorite novel. (The primary season reading list tends toward the classics and more serious contemporary literary fare.) But naming Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth" on Fox News raised a host of questions Romney could have avoided if he'd named something by Ray Bradbury. First of all, many Americans already view Romney's own faith as suspiciously cultlike in some respects so why draw personal attention to Hubbard's religion, Scientology, which has a more sinister reputation? Putting religion aside, "Battlefield Earth" is almost universally regarded as a terrible book, even by the standards of science fiction junkies. Turgid, repetitive and at times nonsensical, it became a bestseller largely through the efforts of Scientologists who bought bulk shipments. Romney managed to compound the error by later saying that the book wasn't even really his favorite, rather, that it was "one of" them and that he also enjoyed "Huck Finn." Yeah, I get those two confused all the time.
This was a favorite, actually this was the gaffe that started the conversation, that resulted in my friend sending me the link to this article -- The Seven Year Itch:
"In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past."
(May 5, 2007)
In his most bizarre misstatement of the past three months including the Battlefield Earth shout-out! Romney used the occasion of a commencement address at Regents University to condemn a non-existent French marriage policy. The line was picked up, without comment, by the Washington Post; when reporters tried to suss out what the candidate could possibly be referring to, a spokesman referred them to France's civil union agreements...which have no set end date, either. One possible source for the impressively specific legalese ups the odd quotient even further: Seven-year marriage contracts are a plot point in the "Memories of Earth" science fiction series by Mormon author Orson Scott Card, itself a retelling of the Mormon theology in which the limited marriages stand in for the other non-traditional marriage practices of that faith. What's Romney really trying to say here? That the French are Mormons? That they're from outer space?
Good for a laugh now; but remember: we almost had this guy's twitchy finger on the nuke button!
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