As President Barack Obama's campaign kicks into gear and the Republican presidential campaign marches forward with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul still in the race, cameras and microphones stand at the ready in case of gaffes, goofs or mistakes. Check out KSL.com for a breakdown of some of the most memorable gaffes of the 2012 election cycle. Here is a list of the top five goofs thus far. Related: Campaigning in the era of YouTube
YouTube captured the debate moment where Texas Gov. Rick Perry forgot one of the government departments he was pushing to cut, prompting him to utter, "oops." Pundits would use the "oops" moment to criticize Perry's entire campaign after he dropped out of the presidential race on January 19. Ben Philpott and Emily Ramshaw of The Texas Tribune called it the "oops heard around the cable news world." At the Washington Post, Dan Balz called Perry's run an "oops campaign never ready for prime time."
While on the campaign trail, Ginrich told citizens at a town hall meeting that if the NAACP invited him to its annual convention, he would talk about "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps."
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous called the comment "inaccurate and divisive." Food stamp participation has risen under President Barack Obama, from 28.2 million participants in 2008 to 44.7 million participants in 2011.
After winning the Florida primary in January, Romney told CNN, "I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich; they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who are struggling right now."
Democrats attacked his comment with an ad, and opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich seized on the comment as well.
In a similar situation to Romney's, Santorum recently commented that the U.S. needs "a candidate who's going to be a fighter for freedom." He went on to say, "I don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. Doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It's something more foundational that's going on."
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the remarks showed Santorum was an "economic lightweight." Alexander Burns wrote at Politico that Santorum's remark, like Romney's earlier "I like being able to fire people" remark, was based on a benign idea that ended up sounding negative.
During an overseas visit with Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, a hot mic picked up Obama telling Medvedev, "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility." Medvedev replied, "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin]."
Romney, Gingrich and others criticized the remark, and Obama responded by saying he is not trying to "hide the ball" in negotiations with Russia over U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe