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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 31, 2011 / 1 Elul, 5771

Some political gaffes really say something

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While in China last week, Vice President Biden mistakenly said we own 85 percent of U.S. Treasury securities, while the number is actually 54 percent. But who am I to criticize?

Sitting in front of a live microphone can be dangerous. I know because I do it for 20 hours each week for my nationally syndicated "Michael Smerconish Program." And over the span of the last decade, plenty of dumb things have rolled off my lips.

Such as when I was interviewing famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, the man whose rendition of "Amazing Grace" could make an atheist cry. His beautiful singing graced many 9/11 hero funerals and became a fixture at important Yankees games. Well, he also happens to be a double amputee, which unfortunately prompted me to ask him: "You've overcome tremendous adversity in your own life. Would you walk us through that?" Ugh.

Then there was the time Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., visited my studio. After avoiding the elephant in the room for much of the interview, I finally said: "I want to ask you about the gay thing. Does it become a pain in your butt after a while that ... people feel the need to say you were the first openly gay member of Congress?" Oh no.

Like a champ, he responded without missing a beat: "I guess I shouldn't answer that too literally."

So I'm naturally sympathetic to politicians who find themselves similarly embarrassed when they say something stupid. They've all done it. It's the one thing that unites Republicans and Democrats.

My ill-fated Ronan Tynan faux pas was similar to one offered by the king of modern political gaffes, Joe Biden. At a Missouri rally in 2008, Biden asked then-State Sen. Chuck Graham to "stand up" and "let 'em see you," not realizing that Graham is a wheelchair-using paraplegic.

No stranger to mangled public pronouncements, President George W. Bush once made the case for tort reform by lamenting that "too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all over this country." Huh? Even Bush's more eloquent successor, Barack Obama, once spoke of having visited "57 states" with "one left to go" during his campaign for president.

The question is, when do the inevitable verbal miscues cross the line from harmless to something worthy of monitoring? Among the 2012 presidential field, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has distinguished herself. Among the notables thus far:

During a visit to New Hampshire, she mistakenly declared that the Revolutionary War had begun in the Granite State's town of Concord (as opposed to Concord, Mass.).

In Iowa, she mixed up the birthplace of film legend John Wayne with that of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

In South Carolina, she exhorted a throng of supporters to celebrate Elvis' birthday on the anniversary of the King's death.

Last week, she lamented the rise of the Soviet Union, despite its collapse in 1991.

It's true that Bachmann isn't the only candidate capable of offering silly public statements that require embarrassing "clarifications" later. And frankly, the mere frequency or volume of misstatements shouldn't call into serious question anybody's fitness to serve as commander in chief. What should be concerning, however, is the nature of Bachmann's blunders. Unlike my Barney Frank gaffe, Biden's "stand up" salute, or Bush's love connection, Bachmann consistently errs in her presentation of simple facts. Hers are usually mistakes, not a function of misspeaking. And there is a difference.

Should the faux pas parade continue throughout the rest of the campaign, it would be fair for primary voters to wonder whether the risk of having an especially gaffe-prone president would outweigh the entertainment value of her "unique" recollection of history.

Or as George W. Bush would say, it would be understandable if these regular inaccuracies come to "resignate with the people" enough to affect their decisions in the voting booth.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Previously:


07/27/11 An overture of candidates' theme songs
06/28/11 Where's the app for common sense?
06/02/11 Over-scrutinizing lives costs us potential leaders
04/19/11 Taking a chance to say, ‘Hi’
04/06/11 Race policies should be altered to reflect new demographic reality
11/10/10 Delaware's independent, but short-lived, voice
11/03/10 Papers should leave endorsing to others
10/21/10 Media help to hype perception of bullying
09/23/10 Officer down, killer hyped up
08/04/10 Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally
07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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