Week of gaffes forces rethink for Mexico candidate

AP News
Posted: Apr 05, 2012 5:50 PM
Week of gaffes forces rethink for Mexico candidate

The presidential candidate of Mexico's governing party canceled a rally and called an emergency meeting of her political team Thursday after her first six days of campaigning were marred by gaffes.

On March 30, Josefina Vasquez Mota misspoke during a speech and said she planned to "strengthen money laundering" if elected.

The next day, a campaign rally had to be called off because of a nearby picket line of striking airline workers _ a cancellation her staff blamed on poor planning.

On Monday, Vazquez Mota felt faint during a speech and had to interrupt her address and sit down to continue. The campaign dismissed the episode as a brief spell of low blood pressure, but images of her looking ill dominated television news for several days.

Then, in what was seen as a strange attempt to demonstrate her good health, the 51-year-old candidate allowed a TV crew to film her morning workout at a hotel gym, commenting to the camera as she exercised on an elliptical machine, did situps and lifted weights.

Vazquez Mota canceled campaign stops Saturday in Veracruz state and said she would instead conduct a strategic planning and evaluation session to find ways to strengthen her campaign.

"We're convinced that we have the right strategy, but we're conducting a very early review in order to strengthen those aspects of the campaign that may need it," the former education secretary said.

Vazquez Mota didn't offer any specifics.

As the first female presidential candidate of a major party in Mexico, Vazquez Mota is running behind in opinion polls to Enrique Pena Nieto, the candidate of the Institutional Revoluationary Party. The PRI had a strangelhold on Mexico's presidency for seven decades, until candidates of Vazquez Mota's National Action Party won the elections in 2000 and 2006.

Mexico limits presidents to a single six-year term.


E. Eduardo Castillo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EECastilloAP