The journalist Michael Kinsley famously quipped that a "gaffe" is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. More accurately, I think, it's when a politician says what they really think, whether or not it happens to be true. So, when US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock says that a pregnancy resulting from rape was God's intent, that's not a misstatement of what he meant to say, but an accurate statement of his view. Because it was a political mistake to have said it, he is now apologizing for expressing his actual opinion. Likewise with Romney's now infamous extended comments about the 47% of Americans who are moochers. And President Obama's recent declaration that the private sector economy is "doing just fine" is another example.
The campaign manager's dream of a candidate who never states an opinion that has not been pre-vetted by focus groups has yet to be realized.