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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.

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There’s a technical neurology term for this, by the way. It’s called “Mouth-moving-faster-than-brainitis.”

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He babbles. 

Some of Romney’s other verbalosities have come when he’s trying to fill empty space. A voter or interviewer will ask an open-ended question, and just sit there, and Romney feels compelled to say something. It’s an old reporter’s trick: don’t ask questions, just stare at the person you’re grilling. You’d be amazed at how many people just start rattling away.

He suffers under the Imperious Curse. 

OK, this is our editor’s theory: Somebody else is controlling Romney and gleefully forcing him to say unfortunate things. In the Harry Potter world, there’s something called an “Imperious Curse,” in which you control another person’s thoughts. It’s like that. Hmm, who would do that? Who reads a lot, is himself verbally dexterous, and beams like a happy kid whenever Romney blurts out something bad? Gingrich!!

Not every pundit thinks Romney’s gaffes are unusually numerous, or that big a problem.

“I don’t want to say that stuff is irrelevant, especially in primary elections where there’s so little to differentiate the candidates in the first place, but the truth is that there’s a lot more to being a good politician than sounding like one,” wrote political scientist and blogger Jonathan Bernstein yesterday in the Washington Post.

Romney’s political skills are underrated, according to Mr. Bernstein. The former Massachusetts governor is good at raising money and organizing allies and political networks. He’s also generally molded his policy positions to what the primary electorate wants.

If Romney wins the nomination and loses the general election, his gaffes will be magnified in retrospect. If he becomes president they’ll be minimized.

“He’s not a great politician. But he’s a good one,” added Bernstein on his own A Plain Blog About Politics.

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