All it takes is one gaffe to taint a Republican for life. The political establishment never let Dan Quayle live down his fateful misspelling of "potatoe." The New York Times distorted and misreported the first President Bush's questions about new scanner technology at a grocers' convention to brand him permanently as out of touch.
But what about Barack Obama? The guy's a perpetual gaffe machine. Let us count the ways, large and small, that his tongue has betrayed him throughout the campaign:
-- Last May, he claimed that tornadoes in Kansas killed a whopping 10,000 people: "In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." The actual death toll: 12.
-- Earlier this month in Oregon, he redrew the map of the United States: "Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states? I think one left to go."
-- Last week, in front of a roaring Sioux Falls, S.D., audience, Obama exulted: "Thank you, Sioux City. ... I said it wrong. I've been in Iowa for too long. I'm sorry."
-- Explaining last week why he was trailing Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, Obama again botched basic geography: "Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle." On what map is Arkansas closer to Kentucky than Illinois?
-- Obama has as much trouble with numbers as he has with maps. Last March, on the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Ala., he claimed his parents united as a direct result of the civil rights movement:
"There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born."
Obama was born in 1961. The Selma march took place in 1965. His spokesman, Bill Burton, later explained that Obama was "speaking metaphorically about the civil rights movement as a whole."
-- Earlier this month in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Obama showed off his knowledge of the war in Afghanistan by homing in on a lack of translators: "We only have a certain number of them, and if they are all in Iraq, then it's harder for us to use them in Afghanistan." The real reason it's "harder for us to use them" in Afghanistan: Iraqis speak Arabic or Kurdish. The Afghanis speak Pashto, Farsi or other non-Arabic languages.
-- Over the weekend in Oregon, Obama pleaded ignorance of the decades-old, multi-billion-dollar massive Hanford nuclear waste cleanup: