Mitt Romney gaffes: 11 times the button-down candidate should have buttoned up
In politics, a gaffe is often described as a "truth told by accident." Mitt Romney has had relatively few of them during his time in politics, but when the former governor of Massachusetts commits one, it can be a doozy – and a distraction. Here’s a list of the most memorable.
8. Endorsing a violent dictatorship?
In a GOP debate on foreign policy Nov. 22, Romney was asked what the US should do about Pakistan. In his reply, he appeared to endorse the repressive reign of Indonesia’s Suharto, which began in the 1960s.
“We don't want to just pull up stakes and get out of town after the enormous output we've just made for the region,” Romney said of Pakistan. “Look at Indonesia in the '60s. We helped them move toward modernity. We need to help bring Pakistan into the 21st century, or the 20th, for that matter.”
The comment didn’t make waves, mainly because 1960s Indonesia isn’t top of mind for most US political reporters. But a few bloggers did note that Romney appeared to be finding “the upside of a murderous dictatorship,” as Peter Hart put it on the Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting website.
Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor knew right away that Romney had made a controversial assertion.
Suharto’s ascent to power – possibly with an assist from the US – in a 1965 coup was followed by a horrific aftermath, “with roughly 500,000 Indonesians massacred in an anti-communist purge that persisted into 1966,” Murphy blogged. After that came “the systematic destruction of Indonesia's nascent democratic institutions and political parties (which had already been taking a beating under Sukarno); state repression of opponents with torture, targeted killings, and long jail terms; and a military-backed dictatorship that persisted until a popular uprising in 1998 pushed Suharto, finally, from power.”