08/21/2012 08:48 pm ET Updated Aug 22, 2012

Gaffe Alert! Inside A Media Obsession (VIDEO)

When catching up on the latest election news, it’s easy to be confused by the avalanche of reporting. What’s a job creator? Who cut what from Medicare? Where exactly is that fiscal cliff, and how much is the guided tour? Thankfully, the news media has a fail-safe way to distill the candidates and issues into soundbite-sized pieces: gaffes! There's nothing like an inopportune slip of the tongue to let the pundits raise all sorts of grave questions and wax psychological about the mindset of the candidates.

Of course, watching a gaffe only gives you part of the story (Biden uses racial coding! Romney’s out of touch! Obama doesn’t understand job creation!). But in the interests of public service, the news media helpfully latches on to each one, parsing its meaning and its consequences for days on end until they can lurch to the next fumble and repeat the cycle.

If you’re worried that the gaffe-fearing campaigns will clam up in the face of such reporting, don’t be. As long as there are live mics on the trail and dead air to fill, gaffes will be the star of many a news cycle to come. Herein, we present some of the many, many, many gaffes that have flared up and died out in the 2012 campaign.