Earlier this week, Herschel Walker made a mistake.
“If you don’t believe in the country, leave and go somewhere else. If it’s the worst state, why are you here? Why don’t you leave? Go to another – there’s, what, 51 more other states that you can go to?
You see the problem. There are, in fact, 50 states in the United States, not 52.
Democrats jumped on Walker’s error, insisting that it was proof that the former NFL running back was way out his depth in his race against Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Republicans, on the other hand, were quick to remind people that back in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said this during a campaign stop: “It is wonderful to be back in Oregon. Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states.”
The question is whether any of it matters. After all, whether or not you think Obama was a good president or Walker would be a good senator, it’s difficult to believe that either of them didn’t actually know how many states make up the country.
Of course that didn’t stop Republicans – for years – from criticizing Obama for his gaffe. Or from arguing that the lack of media coverage of the moment – although that contention is decidedly debatable – was evidence of bias.
“When President Obama said that he has been to ’57 States,’ very little mention in Fake News Media,” Donald Trump tweeted in September 2018. “Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year!”
So what can we expect in the wake of this Walker gaffe? My guess is that Democrats – especially on Twitter – will use it to question his capacity to be a US senator.
Which, well, fine.
But I also think that Walker’s slip-up will just be another piece of the growing concerns Republicans have about their nominee in what is looking like the most high-profile Senate race in the country.
In recent weeks, Walker has publicly acknowledged he has three children with women he was not married to, faced reports that he had not served in law enforcement as he had previously claimed and offered an off-the-wall response to the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
That seeming lack of readiness will heighten the stakes (and Republican worries) if and when Walker and Warnock debate ahead of the general election. Warnock has accepted invitations for three debates, while Walker’s campaign has said only that he looks forward to debating the incumbent.
The Point: In a vacuum, Walker’s 52 states slip-up doesn’t mean much. But for a candidate who already faces questions about his readiness to hold the job he is running for, it’s not a great look.