Some campaign trail gaffes are bigger than others

There are campaign trail gaffes - mentions of the wrong states, botched introductions, etc. - that are largely forgotten after a few news cycles. And then there are comments that cause outrage and force campaigns to adjust.

There are campaign trail gaffes – mentions of the wrong states, botched introductions, etc. – that are largely forgotten after a few news cycles. And then there are comments that cause outrage and force campaigns to adjust.

Last week, Vice President Joe Biden made an unforced error in Virginia when he told a largely black audience that the legislation enabled by a President Romney would “put y'all back in chains.” Obama surrogates given Biden a slap on the wrist in the past week for inarticulate language.

More outrageous were the comments of Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Missouri, who commented on Sunday that “if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” Akin's comments, which he made in defense of his hard-line anti-abortion positions, caused fellow Republicans to call for him to at least apologize and at most drop out of the race.

Biden's comments were no doubt poorly chosen and ill timed, and they caused blogs and some media outlets to speculate that he was about to be dropped from the Democratic ticket.

Akin's interview will cost the Republicans a good chance at a Senate seat, which they need more of to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as promised. It'll also cause the party's standard-bearers to address the topic when they'd rather be talking about other issues.

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