Things Not to Say on the Campaign Trail

'Tar baby' to 'sweetie,' some words are candidate kryptonite
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2008 11:06 AM CDT
Things Not to Say on the Campaign Trail
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney appears at a fund raising event Friday, Sept. 28, 2007, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

In a year of gaffe-rich campaign speeches, Republicans in particular are worried that some errant phrase will seem racist or sexist to general-election voters. Politico helpfully catalogs the mines the candidates have already stepped on. Some phrases to avoid:

  • “Sweetie”: Barack Obama used the endearment to address a female reporter.
  • “Hard-working Americans, White Americans”: Hillary Clinton drew criticism for the phrase.

  • “Tar baby”: Both Mitt Romney and Tom Davis said they didn't know the phrase is a wee bit racially charged.
  • “Boy”: Not an inherently bad word, unless you use it condescendingly about a black candidate.
  • “Pansy”: Considered a slur against gays, as one Clinton supporter found out the hard way.
(Read more Hillary Clinton stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.