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Hillary Clinton’s gaffe was so bad it made Mike Pence refuse to call David Duke “deplorable.”

Republicans and no small number of pundits believe Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of Donald Trump’s “basket of deplorables” is comparable to Mitt Romney’s dismissal of people who pay no income taxes. There are many problems with this assumption, but the biggest is that the poor and working-class people Romney disparaged elicited sympathy, whereas the deplorables really are just that.

So while Democrats would happily go to bat for the “47 percent,” Republicans are stuck with things like this exchange, which just transpired on CNN.

WOLF BLITZER: You would call [David Duke] a deplorable?

PENCE: No, I’m not in the name-calling business, Wolf, you know me better than that.

Hillary Clinton has notably used the “basket of deplorables” formulation more than once, and continues to harp on the point that Trump has used deplorable things like racism and sexism to excite supporters. People think this was a gaffe, but if this is where it leads, maybe it was some kind of judo gaffe.