Debate:Should politicians be allowed to misspeak?

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George H. W. Bush got the date of Pearl Harbor wrong. Obama accidentally said he'd been to 57, rather than 45, states. Dan Quayle said he wished he spoke Latin (rather than Spanish) when visiting Latin America. Our current president has made his share of gaffes. Should we cut them a little slack, or hold them to a higher standard when it comes to speaking errors? CraigC 23:38, 9 September 2008 (EDT)


Absolutely. People make slips like these all the time, and reasonable listeners know how to distinguish a simple slip from deliberate deceit. Slips and gaffes are practically inevitable in campaigns, with the long days, hectic schedules and minimal time for rest. What counts, then is the ability of readers/listeners to digest and interpret what's said fairly, and decide if it's a slip or something else. McCain has referred to the Czek Republic as Czekoslovakia a couple of times, and I'd write those off as slips. However, when he and Palin continue to insist that she was the entity behind the cancellation of Gravina Bridge project, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, that's not a slip anymore. That's plain and simple deceit. --DinsdaleP 00:47, 10 September 2008 (EDT)

Of course! Politicians are humans, and humans make mistakes. --LincolnShuddered


Well, I can't take the extreme side, and say that no mistakes are allowed. But I do believe that we can learn a lot about a person from their gaffes.

Obama, for instance, when saying that rural white voters "cling to their guns and religion" instead of supporting his pro-populist agenda, was revealing a very deep-seated bias against a lot of voters and their beliefs. When Bush made the mistake of saying that the US was not well-allied with other nations against the War on Terror, he spoke energetically about Poland, revealing a warm, deep confidence in them and in the British. When Howard Dean uses his brother to help spread hurtful words against McCain and his military contribution, you can learn a deep understanding of the Deans' disregard for just mentioning the topic. When Bush made numerous gaffes, confusing Iraq and Iran, for instance, he showed a narrow, provincial view of the region. Hillary Clinton talking about white supremacy in a NYC rally showed her level of opportunism and political contortion when fighting political opponents.

For these reasons, and many more, I think mistakes are excellent, and they help give a better understanding of what a candidate feels when they are un-scripted and un-censored. Does a mistake disqualify a candidate from office? Absolutely not. But does it make a difference? It sure does, and in many cases, it is very important to find that true meaning behind the spin.--CTrooper 22:39, 25 October 2008 (EDT)