Politics is a very funny game and the electorate isn't stable. We just had a provincial election here in Quebec, where the party in government was well in front when the election was called and seemed to be coasting to a big victory. Then, a high profile candidate was picked in one of their ridings and he brought up the issue of separation and everything else was forgotten - the rest of the campaign was driven by media and the other parties claiming there was a secret agenda to have another referendum on separation. All the federal parties kept quiet and the Quebec government ended up on their own and they got slaughtered in the polls. It's highly unlikely that separation would have been an issue for the government after the election, but those brief statements allowed the opposition and the media to play it as if armaggedon was about to return.
The political graveyard is littered with the bodies of highly competent, intelligent individuals who've been buried by their own words, usually words simply uttered in passing.