Politicians are known for making gaffes. When there is a 24-hour news cycle, most of those gaffes are pretty easy to overcome and others can mean the end to campaigns. Recently, a video surfaced of Republican candidate Mitt Romney at a private function saying this: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” He also said, “(they) believe that they are victims” and are “entitled” to be taken care of by the federal government.
Sadly, this number includes people who are retired veterans and those on social security. These are people who are not victims or feel they are entitled to anything. These are benefits they have earned. The most unfortunate part of this gaffe is the number that was used. Had the number not been used, the gaffe would have never gotten the media coverage that it did.
They truth is that some people do feel entitled, but it is certainly not 47 percent of Americans.
The reason that this quote received so much coverage is because most say it exposes Romney for the soulless man that he is. They say that he has no regard for the people who rely on the government for the help they need to put food on the table or who rely on unemployment benefits to help pay their bills.
This comment sure seems like it, but whether the American people buy it is another story. The truth is that gaffes happen. Since the politicians are constantly being watched, it is easy to have a slip or two. President Obama made a gaffe in July when he went off teleprompter saying, “If you got a business, you didn’t build that,” which the Republicans went crazy over and actually built the RNC (Republican National Convention) around it as well as distributing T-shirts that said “government didn’t build my business, I did that.” Conservatives and Republicans around the country put up signs and had bumper stickers about the gaffe. It gained a lot of publicity very quickly because it was the middle of summer and the news is usually pretty slow.
Now that it is closer to the election and with what is being reported in Libya, Romney’s gaffe will not get the coverage that Obama’s gaffe did back in July. But it will still be talked about.
The core of each gaffe is said to expose how these men intend on running the country and the policies put forth if elected to office. If this were true, Obama thinks that the government is responsible for everything great in the country and Romney thinks that everyone who receives any sort of government benefit is lazy and just trying to get what they can from the people who are hard working and pay their taxes. This is obviously not the case for either man.
There is a strong difference in the ideologies of these two men. They believe in completely different ways of running the country in a successful manner. At the end of the day, gaffes will not decide elections. Obama and Romney need to appeal to the American people on a far more personal level. They do this through actively campaigning, participating in debates, and speaking with the American people about their plans for the country. Sadly the gaffes, at the end of the day, are just words that are usually taken out of context.
Although Mitt Romney’s gaffe was more recent and is still getting attention in the media, it is not the end of his campaign. He held a press conference where he went into instant damage control. He expressed how he said the remarks in response to a question and that he is “focused on the middle.” Whether this was really effective remains to be seen.
In today’s world of news, things turn over very fast. Politicians make gaffes weekly, and days later they are forgotten. Possible because people just do not really care when a politician misspeaks. It is what they want to do with the country that matters to them. What changes they want to make and what policies they want to put forth to make America prosper. This is the core of what people care about in this election.
At the end of the day, Romney’s gaffe was unfortunate, but not a game changer. Those who were offended by it the most would never vote for him anyway, and others don’t care.
BY ALI BOETTCHER firstname.lastname@example.org