Political gaffes and missteps have plagued elections for years, and the 2012 presidential campaign is certainly no exception.
The road to the Nov. 6, 2012 election has been filled with incorrect statements, claims and campaign mistakes from both political parties.
On Sept. 20, President Barack Obama spoke at a forum for the Spanish language television network, Univision. Obama was quoted saying, “You can’t change Washington from the inside.”
The President’s remarks sparked reactions from both Democrats and Republicans.
Jordan Harris, chairman of the Penn State College Republicans, said he feels as though these recent comments are a far cry from Obama’s original campaign.
“He certainly has shown that he can’t change Washington from the inside; it’s a stark contrast certainly from what he said four years ago,” Harris (senior-history) said. “He was going to change Washington.”
While Harris said he feels as though these comments damage the president’s reputation, the Penn State College Democrats think differently.
Drew McGehrin, president of the Penn State College Democrats, said he believes these comments did not necessarily negatively affect Obama.
“It’s a reality check for the public, obviously the ideal would be to go in and change it for the better,” McGehrin (senior-religious studies and history) said. “[The statement] sort of brings everyone back down to earth. It really shows that human side to him.”
Obama’s opponent, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has also shown some missteps in his campaign.
A recently released video showed Romney speaking at a private fundraiser to donors. Romney said that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as “victims,” and think that they are entitled to and deserve certain benefits.
Harris said he struggles to come to terms with some of the subject matter of Romney’s claims, but said that it was a refreshing change from the appearance and attitude that Romney has been portraying for the public.
“For one of the first times in his campaign, [Romney] was candid and truthful and talked about something which he fundamentally thought,” Harris said. “He talks about broad statements, for him it was one of the first times he was specific about something he believes.”
However, Penn State political science professor Eric Plutzer said he does not believe that these missteps will have a huge impact on voters’ opinions of the candidates.
For example, Plutzer said if people already believe the claim that Romney doesn’t care about the rich, Romney’s 47 percent statement could reinforce that among the public.
“I think statements like that matter when they reinforce other beliefs that people may have or concerns that they may have about a candidate,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.