The Slatest

Aspiring House Speaker’s Hillary Comment Reaches Official Acknowledged Gaffe Status

Last Tuesday, California Republican and leading speaker of the house candidate Kevin McCarthy told Fox News that the House committee investigating Benghazi had hurt Hillary Clinton politically:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping, why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened.

This is a true statement insofar as the Benghazi committee helped create Clinton’s private-server email scandal, which has been ongoing as her “trustworthiness” poll numbers have dropped. Nonetheless, talking excitedly about the partisan political impact of your investigation into several Americans’ deaths is not a couth thing to do. Clinton released an ad on Monday that highlights McCarthy’s words, and now figures ranging from outgoing Speaker John Boehner to Benghazi committee chairman Trey Gowdy to McCarthy himself have admitted that he done gone and said something real dumb. From the AP:

McCarthy has retracted the comments and said he regretted them. Addressing the issue anew Wednesday he told reporters: “I could have been more clear” in the initial comments.

“Let’s be very clear: Benghazi’s not political,” McCarthy said. “It was created for one purpose and one purpose only, to find the truth on behalf of the families of the four dead Americans. Period.”

Said Gowdy: “Kevin screwed up.”

If McCarthy commits an additional official gaffe during the next calendar year, it will be legally required to refer to him as “gaffe-prone California Republican Kevin McCarthy” in all political writing. However, if he then continues to commit further gaffes, it will be permissible to call him “notoriously blunt” and/or “infamously outspoken.”