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United States: Errors During the Republican Campaign

Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are not only competing to become the Republican candidate who will face Barack Obama this coming November, but also to be the one who commits the most factual errors and blunders in a speech or interview, a competition that also includes their teams. One of the most commented blunders was made by Romney’s advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, who stated that during the general election Romney’s campaign will be like an “Etch A Sketch”, that is, “You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again,” something his critics, particularly Santorum, have used to question his campaign promises. This joins a comment, made about two months ago, about the lack of concern that Romney said he feels toward the poor.

Santorum hasn’t managed to avoid errors either, however. On the 20th of March, Santorum stated “I don’t care [about] the unemployment rate”, when the subject of the economy will clearly be a decisive factor in the presidential elections. Some of these mistakes will come with a high price at the time of voting, as happened to Santorum in Puerto Rico on March 18th. Romney won all 20 of the Puerto Rican delegates, thanks to Santorum’s declaration that speaking English is a requirement for the island to become the United States’ 51st state – something that hit a raw nerve for the people that live there.

This feeling is reflected in the blog Cuando quise ser escritor [es]:

¡Por favor, pero si el gobierno federal nunca ha aprobado legislación alguna que establezca que el inglés es el idioma oficial de la federación! Nuestra legislación reconoce la oficialidad de ambos idiomas, pero aun así esto no parece importarle a Santorum contestando: “sí y no”.

Come on, but the federal government has never passed legislation that establishes English as the official language of the federation! Our legislation recognises that both languages are official, but even so this does not seem to matter to Santorum answering: “yes and no.”

The blog of Pablo A. Jiménez in the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día used his bilingualism in a diatribe against Santorum:

The question is why you made these unfortunate remarks. Did you know your premises are false? If you didn't know, then you spoke out of ignorance. If you did now, then you twisted the truth. One way or the other, your remarks are not worthy of a presidential candidate. / La pregunta es por qué hizo usted estas expresiones tan desafortunadas. ¿Sabía usted que eran falsas? Si no lo sabía, hablo motivado por la ignorancia. Si lo sabía, tergiversó la verdad. De cualquier manera, sus expresiones no son dignas de un candidato presidencial.

Rick Santorum has committed a series of verbal mistakes that have made a definite dent in his presidential campaign. Photo of Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rick Santorum has committed a series of verbal mistakes that have made a certain dent on his presidential campaign. Photo of Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In addition, Santorum’s slip-ups started a firestorm on Twitter. Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) said that Santorum got something else besides Puerto Rican delegates:

Ok. So Santorum got 0 delegates in Puerto Rico after spending 2 days there. But Hey! He got a tan.

Ana Kerman (@proyturma) [es] asserted that Santorum insulted Puerto Rico:

Santorum ataca sin asco a la cultura de Puerto Rico http://www.impre.com/la-gente-dice/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978953910#.T2qTiUY-hnE.twitter vía @AddThis

For his part, Joe Farahnak (@joefarahnamone) [es] alleged that Santorum’s comment was a strange move:

English Only: Extraña estrategia de Santorum en Puerto Rico – http://Terra.com

English Only: Strange strategy of Santorum in Puerto Rico – http://Terra.com

Finally, Etch A Sketch became one of the principal trends of the 22nd of March on Twitter, while ABC News channel (@abc) stated that Romney could use an “Etch A Sketch ‘Restart’” with some minorities:

Romney Could Use Etch A Sketch “Restart” With Latinos, Women, the Poor http://abcn.ws/GHQ4hi

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