October 2012: The Five Worst Video Media Disasters
It’s little surprise that October was quite a month for media disasters.
Weird things happen in the final weeks of election season, and this month was no different. From the memorable presidential debates to a politician discussing rape to a California primary fight that almost turned violent, October was a month to remember.
Democrats were left scratching their heads after President Obama’s dreadful first presidential debate in Denver. What caused his lackluster performance, they wondered? Was he tired after four years in office? Distracted due to the debate night occurring on his 20th wedding anniversary? Did he just have an overall disrespect for the value of debates themselves?
Whatever the reason, no one had a more outlandish excuse for him than former Vice President Al Gore, who suggested that Denver’s altitude was to blame. My favorite part of this clip? That his sycophantic co-hosts gave his idea some credence.
4. Two Democratic Opponents Almost Come to Blows
A California House race nearly became violent as two Democrats locked in a primary battle—Brad Sherman and Howard Berman—almost came to blows. It got so heated, their exchange had to be broken up by a nearby police officer.
The Jewish Journal reported that, “The inciting incident came after Berman, for the second time in the debate, took credit for authoring the DREAM Act.”
3. Mitt Romney’s Libya Moment and His “Binders Full of Women”
Mitt Romney had two buzz-worthy moments during the presidential debates.
The first came in the second debate, when—with menacingly arched eyebrows—he denied that President Obama had called the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi an “act of terror” the day after the attack (in fact, he did use the term “act of terror” in a statement on Libya the next day).
Although Mr. Romney may have been right on his larger point, he was wrong on the specific point, allowing the President (with the help of moderator Candy Crowley) to win the exchange.
Mr. Romney’s second memorable moment occurred during the same debate, when he explained his commitment to gender equality by sharing an anecdote about looking through “binders full of women” as Massachusetts governor to consider them for job openings.
Sure, that phrase was inelegant. But the more important question many women were asking afterward was why, after so many years in business, Mr. Romney knew so few qualified women to consider for those positions in the first place.
2. Senate Candidate Steps on Rape Landmine
During a debate earlier this month, Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock worded his position on abortion in the case of rape as follows:
“Life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
Critics pounced, accusing Mourdock of saying he believes that God intends rape to happen. Mourdock bitterly complained that his words had been taken out of context; he and his supporters explained that he didn’t mean that God intends for rape to occur, but rather that the life itself is a gift from God.
Based on my reading of his comments, I’m willing to give Mourdock the benefit of the doubt. But his imprecise word choice left him open to attack. And it’s not like he didn’t have ample warning to prepare a less ambiguous statement on this topic—any Republican running on a similar platform this election cycle should have improved upon Todd Akin’s awful example.
1. President Obama’s First Debate
First, let’s get this out of the way: this was not a “gaffe” in the traditional definition of a gaffe. But in terms of sheer political impact, President Obama’s performance during the first presidential debate is impossible to ignore. As a result of his lackluster performance, Governor Romney immediately surged in the national polls and closed the gap in several vital swing states.
If President Obama loses next Tuesday, historians will cite this debate as a major reason why. If he wins, it will be a lot closer than it otherwise could have been.
The video below is an edited compilation of some of Mr. Obama’s many “uhhhs.” It’s emblematic of how hesitant and unfocused he was throughout the entire debate.
Bonus #1: Mitt Romney Surrogate John Sununu’s Racist Statement
If you’re white, you’re almost certainly voting for Mitt Romney because he’s white, too. Right?
That was the logic behind a statement made by former New Hampshire Governor (and current Mitt Romney surrogate) John Sununu. After General Colin Powell—who served as George W. Bush’s Secretary of State—announced his support for President Obama, Sununu shamefully reduced Mr. Powell to merely being a black man who casts his vote on racial identity alone instead of being a person whose votes are based on actual thought.
Bonus #2: Joe Walsh: Women Don’t Die Due to Pregnancy Anymore
Did you know that women don’t die during childbirth anymore?
That, according to Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL), who says “life of the mother” exceptions to abortion laws are no longer necessary since medical technology makes such cases non-existent.
If only someone could share that news with American’s uncooperative women, who occasionally lose their lives due to complications of pregnancy.