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Mitt Romney gaffe monster: Why does he misspeak?

Mitt Romney often says stuff that makes him seem like J. Thurston Romney III. Recently he put his wife in several Cadillacs that were undoubtedly purchased from his NASCAR team-owning friends.

By Staff writer / March 1, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall meeting at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, Wednesday.

Gerald Herbert/AP

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Why does Mitt Romney so often get tangled up by his own words like he’s trapped in jungle underbrush?

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It happened again Wednesday during an interview with the Ohio News Network. Asked whether he supports the Blunt amendment – legislation that would exempt religiously-affiliated employers from providing employees with contraception – Mr. Romney said he didn’t. Then he pivoted to attack Rick Santorum, saying he didn’t believe campaigns needed to interfere in the relationships of husbands and wives.

The problem is that Romney does support the Blunt amendment. That’s a GOP given, since it would overturn an Obama administration health-care mandate. Within hours, Romney was on the Howie Carr radio show doing a mea culpa.

“I didn’t understand the question. Of course I support the Blunt amendment ... I think every Republican is supporting it,” said Romney.

We’ll judge this as a gaffe, not a flip-flop. Romney wasn’t against the bill before he was for it – he was against it all the time, but that wasn’t what was coming out of his mouth.

Why does he misspeak so often, or say stuff that makes him seem like J. Thurston Romney III? If he’s not putting his wife in several Cadillacs that were undoubtedly purchased from his NASCAR team-owning friends, he’s betting Rick Perry $10,000 that corporations are people, my friend. Or something like that.

Well, we’ve got a couple of theories, above and beyond the obvious one that campaigning for president for years on end is tiring.

His mouth is faster than his brain. 

Watch the Ohio News Network interview, and it seems like Romney has already moved past the actual question and is setting up to go after Mr. Santorum. His mouth is moving, but his brain is still formulating anti-Rick stuff. Anybody who’s appeared on TV can understand this phenomenon. You’re not there to have a discussion. You’re there to move from one-liner to talking point, and back.

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