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. Laurie

    I don't see the big deal. Republicans forgot who Osama is anyway.

    They won't forget when it's time to scare the electorate near the 2008 election. Then it will be all Al Qaeda all the time.

    October 23, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Ryan, New York, NY

    Maybe I'd give Mitt more of the benefit of the doubt if it hadn't been for his use of the full name, as well as the photo incident a few months ago with him and that woman holding the "No To Obama, Osama and Chelsea's Moma" sign. Coupled with the fact that probably 15-25% of Americans think that Obama is a Muslim due to Republican grassroots campaign lies, it's hard to fathom that his was unintentional. It may have been a "slip," but we all know that some "slips" are deliberately placed by campaigns. They're able to get their hateful message across, then play dumb later.

    And yes, I know "Momma" is misspelled, I was just quoting the dumb woman's sign.

    October 23, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Lioness, Washington DC

    Trust CNN to call this a "slip." It is more of a slide, and a deliberately calibrated one at that.

    Romney the Desperate is pandering to the extreme right. This may earn him outrage, but it will also deliver him a few converts.

    Successful Machiavellian strategy for the short term, Mr. Romney. An absolute loser any day beyond that, though. You have just lost whatever chance you had at the White House. And, much to your chagrin, Obama, an infinitely superior candidate, may yet emerge stronger.

    October 23, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Lawerence, Des Moines, Iowa

    And plus, he's from England- since when do the British know more about our politics than we do?

    Posted By Matt, Fremont, CA : October 23, 2007 7:13 pm

    ...Clearly, you haven't been to a US public school lately. The US is the most politically ignorant major nation in the world. We care more about Paris Hilton's non-existant hoo-has than the leader of the 'free world'.

    FUND EDUCATION.

    October 23, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Mrs. America

    Big deal. Anyone who talks slips every now and then. At least Romney can form a coherent sentence, unlike George W and the hopeful Fred Thompson.

    October 23, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. BA, Phila PA

    Ummm, yeah...

    This was no "slip-up." A slip-up would have been something along the lines of, "Obam.. uh, I mean Osama."

    But switching Osama and Barack Obama's full name? That is a little more calculated than a slip-up. Nice try, Mitty. Brief mix-up, my arse.

    October 23, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. Daniel, NY

    In other presidential news, Rasmussen has just released general election news from Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois - with mixed results for Clinton. Check out the polls.

    October 23, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  8. Dan, Seattle, WA

    I love the Obama camp's response. Ouch. Milf Romney is rather shifty when it comes to his views.

    October 23, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  9. Antony Dallas TX

    Jim Bremer

    You are as racist as they come. You smell of bile.

    October 23, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  10. Paul B, Magnolia, TX

    CNN staff –

    Why is this news? The man made a simple mis-speak and the media jumped it like it was the revelation of the century. Please spend more time on NEWS rather than NONSENSE.

    October 23, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. Bob Griffin, Thousand Oaks, CA

    Oh no, another George Bush!

    October 23, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. Linda, Chandler AZ

    This was no mistake. It's just more of the same old Republican attacks. Rush Limbaugh has been calling Obama "Osama" for months. These people need America to be divided and full of fear and hate so they can still have jobs. The people will come together and change that....no doubt about it.

    OBAMA '08

    October 23, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. Tim, Cincinnati, OH

    Obama's spokesman didn't have to make such a childish reply. It would have been classier to say nothing in reply to an innocent slip-of-the-tongue.

    October 23, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Sean, Lexington Kentucky

    Ex-Governor McCarthy – I mean, Ex-Governor Romney is – a total flip-flopping ne0-fascist. Has he no sense of decency?

    October 23, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Diamond, Bradenton, FL

    It's a disgrace for CNN to buy the argument that this a slip of the tongue.

    Romney starts to say correctly, Osama. then he switches and calls Barack Obama. If this is genuinely a slip of the tongue, then Romney is an intellectual misfit.

    But I don't buy it. Mitt Romney has shown several occasion that he's not a man of character. The last time this happened, he refused to apologize. There's nothing conseervative, presidential or even American about his character. The least he can do is apologize right now. Whether he msisspoke or not. Otherwise, this story will hurt him.

    October 23, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. MikePost, Bosie, Idaho

    Did Romney also slip up when he was a liberal and pandering to gays in Mass for their votes and money and now he is for government discrimination against gays while pandering to the fundamentalists?

    October 23, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  17. John from America

    I just love it when all you Klan Racists show up to defend the Karl Rove attack politics. What makes it real funny is that the mittster and his bushie buddies are sending all your jobs overseas and making money off your sorry existence! Slip of the tongue, my butt! I'm no liberal but, I can see you rightwing fools just don't get it!

    October 23, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. Willie, New Bedford, MA

    Come on now. B is way far from S on the keyboard. And B is pronounced way differently from S. Romney has proven that he was chosen to be nothing more than a distraction in the presidential race.

    October 23, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. Diamond. Bradenton, FL

    Mike Huckabee is a true conservative and a good Chritian man who will never launch such personal attacks at people, not to talk of a UNITED STATES SENATOR.

    The rest of the world will be laughing right now at America. The only country in the free world where people running for President disrespect elected officials. This is racism at its core.

    Mit Romney is racist and despicable and American cannot elect a President like that. Mike Hickabee is the best choice for Republicans. His campaign is not about hatred and fear, like Romney's.

    Those of you who say this was a slip of the tongue. Do you agree that Romney should apologize for his slip of the tongue?

    October 23, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. Brian Jones, Las Cruces,NM

    Truth be told I call him Barack "Al Qaeda" Obama. Silly libs...Muslim sounding names ARE for terrorists. While not believing that Mr. Obama is a terrorist, he certainly is a terrorist sympathizer despite his rhetoric. Romney's slip of the tongue is just a manifestation of what many in America know to be true. We will never elect a guy with a name that sounds so, well, Muslim. OK, let out your shocked sigh and get back to reality. Also, the Constitution forbids a person from serving more than two terms as president, so there goes Billary. I despise the Democratic party and all it stands for, but the truth is that if Demos want a Democrat in the White House in 2009 then they better start looking at their third and fourth tier candidates. I, as a Republican, would vote for John Edwards way before I would even consider the Democratic Superman and Wonder Woman. And listen up you liberal whackos...if you want to win the presidency then you better have a candidate who can carry the South, and your two primary clowns cannot do it.

    October 23, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  21. Diamond, Bradenton, FL

    Mike Huckabee is a true conservative and a good Chritian man who will never launch such personal attacks at people, not to talk of a UNITED STATES SENATOR.

    The rest of the world will be laughing right now at America. The only country in the free world where people running for President disrespect elected officials. This is racism at its core.

    Mit Romney is racist and despicable and American cannot elect a President like that. Mike Hickabee is the best choice for Republicans. His campaign is not about hatred and fear, like Romney's.

    Those of you who say this was a slip of the tongue. Do you agree that Romney should apologize for his slip of the tongue.

    October 23, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Laura, Bothell, WA

    No way this was even close to accidental. Yes, "Obama" does sound like "Osama", unfortunately for Sen. Obama. However, as has been mentioned, "Barack Obama" doesn't sound a bit like "Osama", and that's what Romney said! Not only that, he repeated "Barack Obama" twice! And initially, started to say "Osama" and corrected himself!

    I'm sure that if Obama ends up winning the nomination, there will be quite a few "Obama/Osama" slips during the campaign season, some truely accidental, others not. (However, I wouldn't be surprised if a disproporionate perscentage of the "accidental slip-ups" happen to come from Fox News for some strange reason!)

    October 23, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. JWF

    You can't compare this comment to the time that Ted Kennedy made a similiar one. Totally different circumstances.

    Teddy was drunk at the time.

    October 23, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Bian, Orlando, Florida

    Republicans are so full of HATE they think Democrats and terrorists are the same.

    Just another reason why Jesus would never be a republican.

    October 23, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. Paul, Salina, KS

    I'm not a Romney fan, but let's cut the guy some slack on this one.

    Let's face it...Osama and Obama are rather unusual names for most Americans' ears, but both are heard in the media repeatedly, so a simple slip-up like this hardly has Freudian import. It's little different from someone mixing up a Mr Cheng and a Mr Chang.

    Know what's really funny about this? The CNN writer himself is guilty of a slip-up, writing in the opening paragraph that a "presidential candidate is confused FOR the mastermind" when he really means "ABOUT the mastermind." He should point fingers?!

    October 23, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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