Listen to this episode: {play} {/play}

Play in new window



By now, most of the gaffe machines have left the race.  I’ll certainly miss Rick Perry’s “Oops” moments, Michele Bachmann confusing birthdays with death anniversaries and much-loved movie stars with mass murderers, Herman Cain’s lack of knowledge of world leaders and pronunciation of their country’s names and, of course, Newt’s moon colonies, philandering and Tiffany’s credit line.  But one thing we’ll never be short of during a presidential election year is the gaffe.

While I was not paying attention to the news for the past few days, we witnessed a biggie from both of the major presidential candidates.

Let’s begin with President Obama’s.  On Friday, the president went to the briefing room to answer some questions.  The big news item of the day was this quote:

The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.  The private sector is doing fine.

What they didn’t report was the rest of his answer.  Here’s the whole thing:

The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone.  The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government — oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.  

And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry.  Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more.  

OK, so while it wasn’t the most articulate thing he could have said, he did clarify what he was saying immediately.  But that won’t stop the GOP from taking that first poorly worded line and running with it.

But I think the winner of this week’s gaffe war goes to Willard Mitt Romney who actually did say:

He wants to hire more government workers. He said we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers! Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did.  It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people!

WOW! Mitt Romney is saying that firemen (firefighters), policemen (police officers) and teachers are big government and that we need to cut back on them? And that’s how to HELP the American people?  This is some serious Opposite World stuff.

I crown a champion in the gaffe wars and give you Mittens Rmoney.

Today on the show, I recapped a bit of Netroots Nation – it’ll likely take me a whole week to fully debrief.  But it is worth listening to the show to hear about my convention trek to Boston with Congressman Alan Grayson to see the Stephanie Miller Sexy Liberal Comedy tour! (I’m not kidding, and I am bragging!)

I also spoke with Steven Thrasher of the Village Voice who wrote about a gathering he attended last week in NYC: “The Stonewall Stop and Frisk Summit — Or Al Sharpton, Chris Quinn and the NAACP Walk Into a Bar“.  (Some background on it all here.)

And, as we do every Monday in the second hour, Crooks & LiarsNicole Belle joined in with Fools on the Hill, and brought us this today:

It’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for progressive politics.  With the failure of the recall election and far too many Obama surrogates going rogue to ape Republican framing, it’s a little hard not to feel dispirited.  And of course, conservatives are there to rub salt in the wounds.

Like Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who suggested that the Wisconsin elections was a “turning point” and that it may be time to dismantle all public worker unions.  

In fact, host Chris Wallace pushed the continuing conservative meme that public sector workers are overpaid.  But luckily, NEA president  Dennis Van Roekel was present to remind Wallace and Fox viewers that it’s not workers that’s the problem when it’s the top one percent’s wages that have gone up 275 percent.

For sheer hubris, it’s hard to beat Liz Cheney, who told the Fox News panel that she’s convinced that President Obama is personally responsible for the intelligence leaks.  Two words, Liz:  Valerie Plame. 

While we’re on the subject of the intelligence leaks (and hubris, for that matter), when George Stephanopoulos questioned David Axelrod on it, who do you suppose he cited with the concern for National Security?  None other than Michele Bachmann.  Stop laughing.

And then for an example of a great progressive response to ridiculous conservative framing, David Shuster was able to show what an incredible partisan hack Jennifer Rubin was over whether the media is being unfair to Mitt.