Media asking, which was worse: Clinton's 'basket of deplorables' gaffe or Romney's '47 percent' comment?

Posted September 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton made headlines when she called half of Donald Trump voters "deplorable," saying that those voters were sexist, racist and xenophobic, among other things.

Clinton said this at an LGBT fundraiser, where she said Trump supporters fell into a “basket of deplorables.”

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right?” Clinton said, as you can see in the video below. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

Of course, conservatives, especially Trump supporters, took issue with the comment, according to the Washington Post. Trump himself tweeted out that he wasn’t a fan of the generalization, either.

Clinton later apologized for her comments in a statement.

“Many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them,” she said in the statement.

But the gaffe has drawn comparison to a similar remark made by 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who suggested that about half of Americans — 47 percent — were reliant on the government and that they would automatically vote for Obama, regardless of Romney’s ideas.

He said, the 47 percent “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

He added later, “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

As the Post reported, fact checkers at the time found that this statement was far from the truth. But the harsh words seemingly cost Romney at the polls.

Fox News political pundit Bret Baier asked whether or not Clinton’s recent "deplorables" comment was not as bad, worse or about the same as Romney’s 47 percent comment.

The results showed that 80 percent of those who voted said it was a worse comment than Romney’s. Of course, Baier’s Twitter followers may lean conservative.)

Sarah Huckabee, daughter of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is advising the Trump campaign, also said that Clinton’s comment is worse since it references all men and women across the nation and not just people who depend on the government, according to The Hill.

But that may be exactly why the two comments are so different. Clinton’s words appear to reference just Trump voters, whereas Romney’s comments may have been referencing the entire nation, Republicans included.

As for which comment is worse, that remains to be seen.

“Clinton has lit a fire here by attaching a specific figure to her claims — just as Romney did. There will certainly be plenty of chatter about this in the hours and days ahead,” according to the Post. “It’s not clear that she intended to use that number and actually suggest that 20 percent of the country is prejudiced against minorities, gays and Muslims. That’s a very controversial thing to say, to put it lightly. But it’s at least along the lines of a narrative she’s been pushing. We’ll see if she just pushed it too far.”

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.


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