We've all made a verbal gaffe at one time or another, but luckily not to a national audience, nor on tape to hear over and over again.

Issues aside, the eight Democrats seemed to have kept their foots out of their mouths while appearing on the national stage Sunday for their 2nd presidential debate, and the ten Republicans will try to do the same tonight. But, if the presidential candidates do slip up while debating or campaigning, UW political science professor Charles Franklin says there's still plenty of time to recover.

Franklin says it's more damaging to be on the wrong side of the issues, than it is to make a verbal gaffe. People realize that the candidates are closely scrutinized through a magnifying glass. And, Franklin points out, the election is about a year-and-a-half away.

Franklin says, a candidate's gaffe matters a lot more within the party elite circles, because they know who the candidates are. It hurts them with the party leaders when donations are involved, along with grassroots organizing, caucuses and such. But, Franklin says, the voters aren't perfect and might be more forgiving, up to a point.

NOTE: The Democrats appeared on CNN on Sunday and the Republicans debate tonight (Tues). There are currently eight Democrat candidates, with one undeclared (Al Gore). There are 10 Republican candidates, with one undeclared (Newt Gingrich) and one unannounced (Fred Thompson).

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:29 MP3)

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