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.

By , Staff writer

11. ‘Small varmints, if you will’

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    In this August file photo Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa.
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Here’s one from Romney’s last presidential campaign, but just for fun, we’ll throw it in.

In 2007, he sought to make nice with gun owners, many of whom vote Republican. On April 3, 2007, he said this: "I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life." Then two days later, he clarified: "I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear. I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."

By initially overstating the extent of his hunting experience, then later dialing it back, he invited the media to look into his history on gun rights, Time magazine noted in 2009. As with many issues, it turned out Romney’s position had evolved from moderate to conservative. And the phrase “small varmints, if you will” invited parody of his button-down manner.  

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