October 24th, 2007
09:50 AM ET
6 years ago

Romney makes Obama/Osama slip

Romney made a slip of the tongue when talking about Osama bin Laden Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was only a slip of the tongue, but it's hard not to notice when a presidential candidate is confused for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Giving a speech before the Chamber of Commerce in Greenwood, South Carolina Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney invoked Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's name when he apparently meant to say Osama bin Laden.

“Actually, just look at what Osama - Barack Obama said just yesterday," Romney said, according to the Associated Press. "Barack Obama calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield."

Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden called the remarks a "brief mix up."

“Gov. Romney simply misspoke," he said. "He was referring to the recently released audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke when referencing his name."

Meanwhile, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, said, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what's wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe.

"It's time to end the divisiveness and fear-mongering that is at the heart of Gov. Romney's campaign," he added.

In January, CNN made the same mistake, accidentally displaying a graphic that said "Where's Obama?" during a report on bin Laden. Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy also made the same slip in a 2005 speech.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Michael Sheridan

    "Slip of the tongue"? Maybe if he'd just said "Obama" instead of "Osama" it could be let pass (as in Kennedy's speech). But he used Barack Obama's full name, which doesn't scan at all similarly to "Osama bin Laden".

    This could have been a purposeful attack (which isn't all that far-fetched for the party of Rush Limbaugh, who has been pulling this cheap stunt since before Obama became a Senator). However, it's more likely just evidence that all the products Romney uses on his hair have seeped into his brain.

    Time will tell – any repeat episodes of this nonsense from any of the GOP field, and we'll know how much of a "slip" it was.

    October 23, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Mark, Springfield, MO

    If someone who is trying to become the leader of the free world is so addlepated (look it up http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=addlepated ) as to make such a mistake more than once do we really want them with their finger on the button?

    When the memory starts to go then you have no idea what they will end up doing.

    October 23, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Jim

    B looks nothing like S. B sounds nothing like S. An elementary knowledge of the English language may help you with the difference there, Jim.

    October 23, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. Sam,Nashville,TN

    Hahaha who cares it was just a slip up, but I can't help but say... Where are those magical mormon underwear now Romney?

    October 23, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Thunk Different.

    What a dingbat mistake.

    October 23, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Jeff D, Starkville MS

    Ridiculous. I get emails from my redneck (and unfortunately ignorant) friends who liken Obama to Osama... absolutely ignorant stupidism.

    October 23, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. Karen,nj

    MY choice for president..LOU DOBBS..vice..JACK CAFFERTY..whatever..GLENN BECK..that's a dream team!!!!

    October 23, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Michael, Austin, TX

    PEOPLE – RELAX!!!

    I'm really worried about some of y'alls sanity when you pile on for a slip-up like this.

    Many of your reaction's to this is much, much uglier than the slip-up itself.

    The comment was stupid, yes. But, no one is perfect and this is such a non-issue it's not even funny. Can't believe that it's getting this much publicity.

    I also think that Obama's campaign is making too much of this as well. They had the opportunity to rise above this and get additional voters for Obama by simply saying "no harm no foul". But, instead they turned ugly.

    Same messy politics. Just goes to show there are no good candidates out there, in my opinion.

    October 23, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. Justin, Washington DC

    It's a sad state of affairs when the focus on candidates and politicians switch from policy decisions to gaffs.

    These people are on camera 24/7, they have to keep up with a grueling schedule, and are subject to intense scrutiny about every decision ever made. Of course there are going to be misspoken and misinterpreted things said by these people.

    We decry the modern politician as unfeeling, slogan spouting automatons. And yet, at the same time we lunge at every little mistake a candidate makes.

    It tells us something about ourselves when we judge a candidate by how he spells potato, excitedly screams at a political gathering, or how clean shaven he looks.

    Focus on the issues, voting records, key points in the speeches, and important background issues (does he do drugs like a certain mayor).

    And to the media, please stop trying to make scandals out of non-issues. I know it's your jobs to boost readership and scandals do that, but at what cost?

    October 23, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Matt, Fremont, CA

    OK folks... "This is outrageous: comparing a nasty, despicable terrorist to a presidential candidate. I don't know how Republicans get away with making all these offensive comments, whether they are racist, sexist or like Romney's comment. I hope Romney loses voters because of this."
    Clearly, this English gentleman only read the headline without reading the actual article. Its an easy mistake to make, and instead of understanding that this man had to go and attack Republicans for making statements they've never made. And plus, he's from England- since when do the British know more about our politics than we do?

    October 23, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    Jim Bremer

    It figures that you call people names when you can't discuss the issues. When you can't find anything wrong about a person's view on the issues, attack their name or invent some claim that he is muslim (he isn't). If I recall, you are a Hillary supporter, Good luck with that Jim.

    October 23, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. Anne E., SLC

    BARACK OBAMA
    OSAMA BIN LADEN
    These two names sound NOTHING alike... at least, to anyone with a brain. Personally, I've NEVER confused the two names - but then, I'm not desperate to be the GOP presidential nominee.
    I hope this is Romney's "macaca" moment.

    October 23, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. jackson smith new york ny

    Bill Burton got it absolutely right. Romney has difficulty keeping track of his everchanging views on policy so it's no surprise he can't keep names straight either.

    October 23, 2007 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. George, Crawford Texas

    I get the word Tucker and a word that rhymes with Tucker that starts with "F" mixed up all the time.

    October 23, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. Adrian, NYC

    Osama confused with Obama? I never noticed. Personally I've had a hard time keeping straight the difference between B. Hussein Obama and S. Hussein.

    October 23, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. hard working person, Ann Arbor, MI

    Just another over rich kid who's daddy sent him to Harvard Business School. This seems to be a trend in the republican party – a pattern of spoiled, draft dodgers who didnt earn all the privelidges they enjo and latter exploit.

    October 23, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Get it right Mitt because I wouldn't want Osama bin Laden to introduce himself to as Barack Obama, that would be a disaster. Some things you don't get a second or third chance at, like running for president. Get it right.

    October 23, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. Jason, Modesto CA

    Kathy Smith from Atlanta, Georgia writes,
    "It is my opinion that Mitt Romney is an idiot and we do not need him in the White House. I do not believe this so called "mix up" between Osama and Barack Obama was accidental. I think it is political crap and don't on purpose."
    Did you mean done on purpose? I have a question for you. How does an idiot graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School and as a Baker Scholar from the Harvard Buisness School, SIMULTANEOUSLY? I think everyone agrees Governor Romney is anything but an idiot.

    October 23, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. Matt Sutton, Medford Oregon

    If this was indeed a "slip", then it wouldn't have included two references to "Barack".

    Mr. Romney, you should be ashamed of yourself. Let's see if you have the class to apologize. Lord knows that if the tables were turned and someone said Mitt Romney was calling on jihadists to unite in Iraq, Mr. Romney would appreciate an apology. Whatever happened to the Golden Rule??

    October 23, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Robert, Shelton CT

    Romney has no chance in hell of winning the office of Preisdent, he is rude and a flip flopper who calls people names.

    October 23, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. Mike, Albany NY

    I could believe it was a mistake if he had simply said Obama instead of Osama... but he also said his first name, Barack... now how can someone of Romney's intelligence and sophistication POSSIBLY accidently use the full name Barack Obama instead of Osama Bin Laden? The only possible mistake is if the AP reported the story incorrectly.

    October 23, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. cwpete

    Here is the URL to Ted Kennedy doing the same thing recently:

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APx2YJ-_jos&w=640&h=360]

    I guess it is OK for a liberal to make the same mistake right?

    October 23, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Matt Sutton, Medford, Oregon

    For all of you excusing this, how do you explain his use of "Barack" twice in this statement??

    That is no slip folks.

    October 23, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. therealist

    Its easy to see the confusion in light of the impending doom to our economy if either had more power..

    October 23, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Romney went on and on, knowing full-well he was mixing them up on purpose. What a dispicable tactic!

    October 23, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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