These Politicians Had The Same Slip Of The Tongue When Talking About US States

Beyond a few specific qualifications, most any American citizen can run for president, or seek any other kind of elected office at the state or federal level, per There is an assumption, though, that any U.S. citizen with political aspirations will have a certain baseline of knowledge. Those seeking elected office in the United States more often than not have earned a bachelor's degree at the very least. Nowhere, though, is that minimum level of education a requirement.

In one crucial 2022 race for a U.S. Senate, one candidate likely misspoke about something fundamental to the U.S. and its structure of government. (As of this report, It's unclear if the candidate meant what he said or if he simply spoke in error.) Some wonder if the gap in civic knowledge possibly exposed in his comment could mean disqualification in the minds of voters, while those who support the candidate say it doesn't matter, according to CNN. Incredibly, though, it wasn't the first instance in U.S. history that a politician made the same blunder.

Herschel Walker got the number of US states wrong

From our time in grade school, we learn that America has 50 states. Georgia GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate and former NFL star Herschel Walker (pictured), however, appears to think there are perhaps 52. As CNN reports, Walker's comments came in response to Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who alleged her home state of Georgia was the worst in the Union to live in. She pointed toward lack of mental health care and high rates of incarceration as examples, according to Insider.

Speaking on the "Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show," Walker responded to Abrams and said (via CNN), "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?" (His comments are available to hear now on Soundcloud). 

Politics being what they are, Walker's political opponents jumped on the opportunity to criticize him. As it turns out, though, a Democratic candidate for president made a similar error in 2008, and that man went on to become among the most popular presidents in history (via the Pew Research Center).

Obama also missed on the number of states in the union

According to Politifact, in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama made a similar gaffe to Herschel Walker's about the number of U.S. states while campaigning in Oregon. Speaking at a campaign engagement, Obama said (via Politifact) that it was wonderful to be back in Oregon and that over the last 15 months he'd traveled to every corner of the United States. "I've now been in 57 states," Obama said. "I think one left to go," he added, implying there were 58. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Obama later said, "I understand I said there were 57 states today. It's a sign that my numeracy is getting a little, uh ..." before he was abruptly cut off by an aide. In 2011, former GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was running for president, used the Obama incident to defend his own mistake: stating the legal voting age in New Hampshire was 21 when it's 18 everywhere in the U.S. On "Fox & Friends," Perry later said (via Politifact), "From time to time, we all will get something wrong."