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
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney appears at a fund raising event Friday, Sept. 28, 2007, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
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(Newser) – 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.