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Romney's Slip
of the Tongue

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney accused Democratic rival Barack Obama of encouraging terrorists in what his campaign said later was intended to be a reference to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Speaking to a Chamber of Commerce meeting in South Carolina, Romney made the slip up during the part of a speech criticizing the foreign policy of Democratic candidates.

"Actually, just look at what Osam -- Barack Obama -- said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield," Romney said, according to the Associated Press. "It's almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded."

"Governor Romney simply misspoke. He was referring to the recently released audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke when referencing his name. It was just a brief mix-up," said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden. In the tape, a speaker presumed to be bin Laden urged insurgents in Iraq to unify behind their hatred of the U.S.

This is not the first time Obama has found himself wrongly linked to terrorism. An e-mail rumor was spread earlier this year alleging that Obama is a Muslim and suggesting that Americans should be "scared" of him. Obama is not Muslim.

The e-mails also focused on his middle name, Hussein, as a way of implying his loyalties would be elsewhere if he were elected president.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said that, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what's wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe. It's time to end the divisiveness and fear-mongering that is at the heart of Governor Romney's campaign."

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  October 23, 2007; 4:16 PM ET
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You apparently know NOTHING about Mormonism. But I bet you believe a man can part a sea, get swallowed by a whale, build an ark with every animal on the earth loaded on it... 2 of them.... quit judging what's believable....

Posted by: hughsammons | October 26, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Why does Mitt Romney hate Americans so?

And speaking of religions - since when does someone who believes Jesus Christ came to America and gave someone golden tablets that proclaimed each man would rule a planet filled with a harem of women get to run for President without us laughing them off stage?

Just sayin.

Posted by: WillSeattle | October 25, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If this is classic republican way. What was the democratic way for ted kennedy and cnn to make the same slip???????????

Posted by: hughsammons | October 25, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Classic republican tactic. Question the patriotism of your opponent. Soft on Communism becomes Soft of Terrorism. Opposition becomes Treason. Division, the Republican way.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 24, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

To: jade 7242
How can you say that "no democratic candidate...has advocated for retreat in Iraq"? What else does it mean to "stop the Iraq War and bring our troops home"?

Romney was just trying to point out that in Osama bin Laden's recent audio tape, bin Laden refers to Iraq as the jihadists' battlefield against the U.S., and that the Democratic contenders "are living in a fantasyland" if they choose to ignore this and declare that America should merely "retreat" from Iraq. He was addressing a Chamber of Commerce group and expressed that "retreat" was wrongheaded for both of America's challenge in Iraq and also in the global economy.

Posted by: dvilt | October 24, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

forget the 'slip of the tongue'! read his message. terrorists, jihadists, iraq, bin laden, democrats! democrats, retreat, wrongheaded. there is the message that is scary for the democrats and the nation. no democratic candidate, to my knowledge, has advocated for retreat, not protecting our troops, and certainly not defending this country! in the oath of office lies the statement to defend and protect this country. democrats don't know how to talk to the emotional intelligence of the american people. most people in this country don't understand all of their statistics, etc. in the meantime, the republicans just continue to scare the american public into submission. read up on nazi germany of the late 1930's. you may recognize some things!

Posted by: jif5748 | October 23, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Guess What...
Senator Ted Kennedy (democrat) made the same slip and so did CNN(also democrat)!!!
Maybe he was a bit tired. I can't image what life must be like for these candidates.

Posted by: hughsammons | October 23, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

It is easy to see from the transcript Mitt did not confuse the names because they sounded alike. He has given this speech hundreds of times. It sounded more like an actor who forgot his lines.

To those of you who are knowingly insulting Mitt when you know he is one of the most honest candidates out there, you can run from Mitt but you can't hide. He will be the next president of the United States, unless one of Clinton's cronies takes him out.

Posted by: mdw1 | October 23, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

The video Documentary Eye on the Prize has some footage showing the Mayor of Birmingham calling MLK, Dr. Martin Luther Coon and catching himself and saying er King.

No doubt that Mayor spent hours regaling his buds with the racist play on Dr. King's name.

Which leads to Mitt's gaffe.

Just what is Mitt saying behind closed doors?

Do we want another President who confuses partisanship with patriotism?

Posted by: pach12 | October 23, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

When Obama first came on the scene as a candidate----the media was constantly mixing his name. Very easy to do.

His name rhymes with Osama and his middle name is Hussein-----this is enough to boggle any Americans brain when we were looking for Osama and Obama begins his candidacy.

Someone wrote that Kennedy had used the wrong name for Obama in Congress. If Kennedy couldn't keep the name straight then what is the big deal with Romney's slip.

Well at least Obama is getting name recognition.

Posted by: mj007 | October 23, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

oh jesus mother maria ofcourse it was most likely a slip of the tongue but this dude mitt is running to be our next president??
please give me a break like when this dude mitt said his 4 sons served our country!
no dude mitt they didnt serve our country, when you serve our country as a rule you go into the military.
those four sons went on a mission for the mormon church (remember the two dude founders young&smith) had 150 wives inbetween them!) and walked from door to door hoping to pervert someone. oh sorry pleeze i get so upset i mean convert someone. this shows us once again that religion poisons everything it touches! i used to live in europe many many years ago and the easiest and fasted way to get a oneway ticket to the good old usa was to join their hokus pokus church! talking about scams!

Posted by: WILLEM1 | October 23, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

What shop?[MARCMYWORDS]Do you go to this shop often????

Posted by: JABLUCAS | October 23, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Big surprise, a Republican candidate getting lambasted by readers of the Washington Post. Haven't you noticed that you are all preaching to the choir?

Posted by: tmavery | October 23, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

It was a slip of the tongue. Period.

Posted by: slvn7 | October 23, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Bush has brought the bar so low for public speaking, Romney thought he could get away with it and get some snickers out of the assorted oafs that already made that connection.

That simple.

The intellectual level of our politicians is now officially schoolyard. Slips are a common tactic used especially against African Amercans. How many times have you heard MLK's last name mispronounced by racist lowlifes? What's next: Romney might slip and call Hillary "Billary" or even just "Bill"?

I'm a Republican, and I can't believe Romney might get the ticket and speak for me, and after 8 years of stuttering W. I think we need to revamp the way candidates are chosen, like what Unity08 is doing. I just cazn't believe these candidates are our best options.

Posted by: xoxortiz | October 23, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Erzuah34 does make a good point. Add to it that it is not the first Romney has made a similar slip of the tongue. And as priusdriver points out, there is a switchback between terrorists and Democrats in Romney's statement, a deliberate jumbling of two distinct groups:

"Actually, just look at what Osam -- Barack Obama -- said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield," Romney said, according to the Associated Press. "It's almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded."

I'm no logic or linguistics expert, but how does one get from "jihadists" to fantasyland back to jihad to retreat to the economy to retreat, while talking -- supposedly -- about the Democrats? It's too twisted to even follow.

Bottom line: Romney wants voters to be afraid of all these scary sounding things: arabic sounding names, jihad and jihadists (but he couldn't define it for you), radicals, retreat (cut and run) and people who disagree with him. Be afraid, America!

It was no slip -- not Freudian or simply of the tongue -- but quite calculated to plant another scary notion in the heads of people too frightened to think for themselves.

Posted by: jade7243 | October 23, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't just that he misspoke Obama/Osama, but that he attributed bin Laden's latest message to Obama and the Democrats. That goes far beyond getting names mixed up. He was placing them directly with the terrorists.

Posted by: kjeroh | October 23, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Of course this was no accident. Romney runs a sleazy shop and there is nothing he won't say to try and get elected.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | October 23, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

In context, malapropisms tend to be intentional, for comedic pruposes.

Posted by: styles1 | October 23, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Erzuah34 hit it perfectly. The "slip of the tongue" was deliberate.

Posted by: jeremygingerich | October 23, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Erzuah34, I take your analysis seriously. It is an implausible slip. This could be part of a deliberate strategy to link Obama/Osama in the public's mind.

Posted by: ch | October 23, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

What Mit Romney said was very deliberate. What has the name Osama Bin laden got to do with Barack Obama. Obl consist of three names. BO is two names. Nobody has ever called the democratic candidate Obama Barack, for this man to say that I meant to say Osama bin laden but got confused and said Obama barack. The human mind does not make that complex mistakes. The rythm within Osama bin laden is different from the rythm within Barack Obama. The mind will instinctively differentiate between the two. If he simply confused Obama with Osama, that will be acceptable. But to confuse three distinct names,Osama- bin-Laden with two, Barack-Obama, takes conscious effort. The man said it deliberatly and is lying with a straight face

Posted by: erzuah34 | October 23, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Well so what!Do you remember senator Ted Kennendy slipped up on the senate floor and mispoke the same way????

Posted by: JABLUCAS | October 23, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Only suicide bring back any honor from such a statement.

Misspeaking is like spelling a word wrong...Big D@mn Deal.

Posted by: ClubbieTim | October 23, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Who gives a crap!! As if we haven't all mispoke from time to time. I certainly have. Besides "Obama" does sound a little like "Osama." You people make the biggest deal out of nothing.

Posted by: dpnelson | October 23, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

This is an astonishing public statement by a supposedly accomplished leader. He should withdraw from the campaign immediately.

Posted by: pcstorandt | October 23, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

jeez... maybe he is more Regan-esque then i thought... he can't keep his Obama and Osama's straight... memory loss comes early. or maybe he's trying to keep straight all the things he's changed his positions on, and it's overwhelming his brain.

even if it was just a slip of the tounge, at first he was talking about terrorists... and then the democrats... so not only is he mixing his names, he's mixing what he means by those names. the follow up question needs to be "did the gov really think that the presidential candidate Barack Obama released a tape calling for the terrorists in Iraq to unite?"

how embarrassing.

Posted by: priusdriver | October 23, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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