Voters are forgiving Biden’s bloopers – for now.

September 16, 2019

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


There’s a strategy for overcoming verbal gaffes.


Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a history of stumbling over his words and committing high profile gaffes that risk burying his message and efforts. It’s become a seemingly regular occurrence, and Biden recently owned his faux pas as being acceptable in comparison to factual mistakes. 

But in a world of public scrutiny and political correctness, at what point does a gaffe become a leadership and public relations issue? Mistakes happen, there’s no doubt to that. But there’s a difference between an unintentional slip up and a conscious decision to lie.


Despite the current appearance of public acceptance for Biden’s transgressions, these types of mistakes chip away at his credibility. It takes time to build a positive reputation, but one incident can also shatter it. From the campaign trail to the board room, inaccuracies and embellishments affect public perception and doom even the best laid plans. 

Developing a strategy that is genuine and takes ownership of your mistakes typically resonates with people. We’ve all made blunders, and the public desires to forgive public figures. But these efforts require an honest commitment to improve, and future mistakes cannot be as easily dismissed from the court of public opinion. 

Some may find entertainment value in Biden’s interviews and public appearances. But while voters are seemingly forgiving for now, his fellow Democratic presidential candidates may not be as inclined. In the last debate, Julian Castro chided Biden for what he called a memory lapse.

Political experts still anticipate candidates will have Biden in their cross-hairs moving forward.

Time will tell how Biden’s “Gaffe Machine” persona will impact his race to the White House.


Courtney Accurti is a Senior Associate in Ceisler Media's Harrisburg office. 

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