'Obama's Gaffes Start to Pile Up' -- Lynn Sweet in March.... 2007

Barack Obama's penchant for gaffes is hardly anything new, but as the Illinois Democrat has come closer and closer to becoming the official Democratic presidential nominee, it seems the mainstream media have become less and less likely to note his gaffes. A cursory Web search finds a few instances of the mainstream media picking up on Obama gaffes in 2007, when Sen. Clinton was well ahead of Obama in the polls and was widely expected to be marching towards coronation in Denver.

"Obama's gaffes start to pile up" read the headline for a March 28 Lynn Sweet column. March 28, 2007, that is:

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, 46 days old on Tuesday, has run into some speed bumps, created because of a series of missteps magnified because he is under microscopic scrutiny.

It's too early to say whether the gaffes slow Obama's momentum -- or if they become barricades, extracting a more significant price for the Illinois Democrat's White House bid. They are getting noticed.

Consider the items that have been accumulating since Obama announced on Feb. 10:

• Marking the anniversary of the March 1965 "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Ala., Obama, speaking at a church, said his parents got together "because of what happened in Selma." Obama was born in 1961.

• Obama told Larry King on CNN -- asked about that anti-Hillary Rodham Clinton YouTube ad, a doctored version of a spot created for Apple computers -- "We don't have the technical capacity to create something like that."

And who can forget this gem from May 2007?:

(AP) Barack Obama, caught up in the fervor of a campaign speech Tuesday, drastically overstated the Kansas tornadoes death toll, saying 10,000 had died.

The death toll was 11.

"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed," the Democratic presidential candidate said in a speech to 500 people packed into a sweltering Richmond art studio for a fundraiser.

Obama mentioned the disaster in Greensburg, Kan., in saying he had been told by the office of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that the state's National Guard had been depleted by its commitment to the Iraq War.

"Turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment and they are having to slow down the recovery process in Kansas," Obama said, his shirt sleeves rolled up and his head glistening with sweat.

As the Illinois senator concluded his remarks a few minutes later, he appeared to realize his gaffe.

"There are going to be times when I get tired," he said. "There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said later that the senator meant to say "at least 10," instead of 10,000.

The media coverage of those 2007 gaffes contrasts with media disinterest in Obama's more recent "57 states" remark or his seeing dead people at a Memorial Day speech, both of which are available on YouTube.

What's more, the MSM tried to move on past Rev. Jeremiah Wright back in March by hyping a McCain gaffe on Iraq that the Arizona senator corrected in short order while still on stage. From a March 20, 2008 item by MRC/NB's Brent Baker:

A day after Barack Obama's speech in reaction to the bigoted and hateful rants of his long-time pastor, the network evening newscasts moved on -- with only ABC briefly mentioning the topic -- while NBC Nightly News, which has run just one clip of Jeremiah Wright and on Friday had instead featured a whole story about Obama's childhood friends cheering him on, centered a Wednesday night story around "a mistake" by John McCain. Anchor Brian Williams provided an ominous plug: "Did John McCain slip, or was his mistake intentional? His choice of words making news tonight."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.