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First lady stumbles stumping for Bailey ... er ... Braley in Iowa

By Sara Fischer, CNN
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Sat October 11, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • First lady Michelle Obama mispronounces Iowa Senate candidate's name seven times
  • Former President Bill Clinton made the same mistake a few weeks ago
  • Obama also confused Braley and his father, calling him a Marine Corps veteran

Washington (CNN) -- The next time Michelle Obama goes to rally for a candidate at a campaign event, she might want to take a good look at the sign pasted on the front of her podium.

Speaking at an event for Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley, the first lady mispronounced the Democratic hopeful's name not once, not twice, but seven times in front of a crowd of supporters.

"I'm very excited to be here to support your next Senator from Iowa, our friend Bruce Bailey," the first lady said commencing her speech on Friday.

"Iowa, if you want a leader that shares your values and will stand up for your families out in Washington, then you need to elect Bruce Bailey to the U.S. Senate," she said again a few sentences later.

Obama continued to mispronounce the Braley's name five more times until she was interrupted by an audience member, who made her aware of her continued slip-up.

"Braley?" she asked, looking quizzical. "What did I say? I'm losing it," she laughed. "I'm getting old."

"Vote dot Bruce Braley dot com," she finally said, correcting herself, to some very loud applause.

"I know where I am. I know what I'm doing," she reassured the crowd.

Republicans were quick to criticize the first lady for her mistake.

"First lady botches name of Dem Senate candidate at rally," Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted.

"WH Legal Counsel might want to prepare for a call from Bruce Braley, gotta avoid a "litigious situation" over mispronouncing name #IAsen," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring tweeted.

Donald Trump also weighed in.

"If a conservative Republican made the mistake that Mrs. Obama just made by calling Braley by the wrong name, it would be the biggest story!"

Key Midterm races to watch

At least the first lady wasn't the first high-profile Democrat to make this exact same blunder.

At the Harkin Steak Fry just a few weeks ago in Iowa, former President Bill Clinton also botched Braley's last name.

"You know what you ought to do to honor the Harkin legacy -- and that is to elect Bruce Bailey," Clinton said.

Later, in what could have simply been the case of a tangled tongue, the first lady also made an incorrect comment about Braley's past.

"As the son of a schoolteacher -- and I love his mom too -- As a Marine Corps Veteran, Bruce worked his way through college, waiting tables, working at a grain elevator, building bridges with a county roads department," Obama said.

Braley is not a Marine Corps veteran, although his father, Byard Braley, was. The first lady was referencing Braley's parents in the beginning part of the sentence.

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