It’s about time. We’ve been subjected to a two-year campaign in which the candidates have been on our television screens for hundreds of hours. Most of those hours have been unremarkable—but a few memorable moments turned into PR disasters for the campaigns.
5. President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” and Mitt Romney’s “I like being able to fire people”
I’m judging these as equal gaffes, mostly because both lines were taken out of context by political opponents.
Opponents accused President Obama of saying that small business owners didn’t build their own businesses but that government did. (In reality, he appeared to be saying that business owners didn’t build the roads that led customers to their doors or the Internet they use to conduct business.)
Opponents accused Gov. Romney of saying that he liked to fire people. (In reality, he appeared to be saying that he liked being able to cancel policies from bad health insurance companies.)
Regardless, both lines were damaging to both candidates. And it proves that in this media age, you can’t afford to commit the deadly seven-second stray.