HuffPo has a post today entitled "Michele Bachmann: 'I Haven't Had a Gaffe'", in which they take Bachmann to task for what she said to Greta van Susteren in a recent Fox News interview. This is easy bait for those of us who are appalled at the prospect of Candidate Bachmann and who have delighted at the many gaffes that she has managed to have in the course of her presidential campaign. But note the context from which the 'I haven't had a gaffe' quote was pulled:
As people are looking at the candidate that is the most conservative and the most consistent candidate, I've been that candidate. I haven't had a gaffe or something that I've done that has caused me to fall in the polls. People see in me someone who's genuinely a social conservative, a fiscal conservative, a national security conservative and a Tea Partier. I'm the whole package.
Context is crucial here. I believe that Bachmann cannot truthfully claim that she hasn't had a gaffe, but I also believe that it is absolutely possible for Bachmann to truthfully claim that she hasn't had a gaffe that has caused her to fall in the polls. We hear a lot about, say, Rick Perry's and Herman Cain's gaffes (and other shenanigans) that have clearly been linked to their drops in the polls; the same can't be said as definitively for Bachmann — unless I've missed something in the news recently, that is, but the point still holds that HuffPo is taking Bachmann to task for the first claim (that she hasn't had a gaffe) and not for the second claim (
that any gaffe she may have had has caused that no gaffe she had (if any) has caused her to fall in the polls). [Thanks to GKP for the correction here.]
Let's assume the second claim is basically truthful. What this means to me is the following: some signficant subsets of Perry's and Cain's supporters have noted their gaffes, have thought them to be significant indicators of Perry's and Cain's unworthiness as candidates, and have dropped their support; on the other hand, no significant subset of Bachmann's supporters have noted her gaffes or thought them to be significant indicators of her unworthiness as a candidate. Given the significance of the gaffes on all sides, this says more to me about Bachmann's supporters than it does about Bachmann.