That aphorism is attributed to Michael Kinsley whom older people will remember from the early days of Crossfire when he and Pat Buchanan shared the stage and politics was still fun and quite a bit more honest. His actual words were “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth – some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”
The other day while visiting Poland President Biden offered this apparently unscripted remark about Vladimir Putin. . . “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
In my opinion, this was a gaffe as defined by Kinsley. Our policy should be and – I believe – is “regime change” in Russia. But, it was not helpful to say it out loud. Biden is known to be gaffe prone. He needs to be a little more devious and suppress the innate honesty that has caused problems in the past.
Or, on the other hand, was it a deliberate signal to Putin opponents inside Russia that all will be forgiven, and Russia can rejoin the civilized nations once the dictator is removed? It may have had that effect, but I will go with it being an old-fashioned gaffe.