An unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder: “an unforgivable social gaffe”.
From The Hill today:
“Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) began resurrecting some of President Obama’s most famous gaffes on the campaign trail Tuesday, reminding a crowd assembled at a Pennsylvania steel plant of the president’s remark four years ago that some voters are “clinging to their guns and religion.”
“Remember this other time when he said people want to cling to their guns and religion?” Ryan said. “Hey, I’m a Catholic deer hunter, I’m happy to be clinging to my guns and religion.”
“Ryan has repeatedly cited his Catholic faith while campaigning in swing states in recent days.
“The Republican vice-presidential nominee also mentioned other famous moments from the 2008 campaign as he rallied supporters, telling them that occasionally the president’s “true” beliefs come out.
“Remember the guy ‘Joe the Plumber?’ Remember when [Obama] said he wanted to spread the wealth around?” Ryan said to cheers.”
The headline reads:
Ryan revives Obama gaffe, says he’s ‘happy to be clinging to guns, religion’
Let’s compare Obama’s statement to some things our beloved Vice Gaffaholic-in-Chief has said:
“My mother believed and my father believed that if I wanted to be president of the United States, I could be, I could be Vice President!” – GAFFE
“His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she’s- wait- your mom’s still- your mom’s still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul.” – GAFFE
“If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong.” – GAFFE
“Jill and I had the great honor of standing on that stage, looking across at one of the great justices, Justice Stewart” (mistakenly referring to Justice John Paul Stevens, who swore him in as vice president). – GAFFE
“Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.” –Joe Biden.” – GAFFE
And now Obama, at a San Francisco fundraiser in 2008:
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Not a gaffe. The philosophical underpinnings of a jobs plan, perhaps. A mission statement, maybe.
A personal conviction, highly likely.
But not a gaffe.