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With the defeat of George "Macaca Goldstein" Allen in Virginia, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane & ask what is the worst political gaffe in modern political history? Which political gaffes have been the most memorable or most damaging? The gaffe can be practically anything that has either ended a person's political career or seriously damaged their ability to move upward & onward in politics.

So with that said, here's a list of some more memorable ones...

George W. Bush - 2003 - Mission Accomplished

Do I even need to even explain this one?

George Allen - 2006 - Macaca

There is an argument that George Allen would have beaten Jim Webb if he had just sat at home & watched soap operas all day, and kept his mouth shut. Thankfully for us, he didn't. There's arguably 2 of many gaffes that Allen made that really hurt him, but the first was the most damaging.

During a campaign stop in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, Allen stopped during his stump speech and decided to direct comments to S.R. Sidarth, a 20-year-old Webb campaign volunteer. He told the audience...

"This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. We're going to places all over Virginia, and he's having it on film and it's great to have you here and you show it to your opponent because he's never been there and probably will never come. [...] Let's give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

The second gaffe was the release of excerpts of Jim Webb's fiction books to the Drudge Report, in the hope that it would make Jim Webb look like a crazy sex-monster. This would have been like Phil Angiledes saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger was unfit to be Governor of California because he shot up a police station in the The Terminator and lest we forget, tried to kill Sarah Connor. Many predicted that the sexual excerpts from his novels would severely damage Webb's campaign, but instead it seemed to damage Allen. It's interesting to note that Webb only took the lead in polls after Allen leaked the explicit excerpts to Drudge & the media latched onto the story.

Michael Dukakis - 1988 - Tank Ride

At one point Michael Dukakis led Bush by 17 points in 1988, but it was decisions like this that wiped all of that lead away. Dukakis wanted to show his strength on National Security, so his campaign scheduled an event at a Defense-Plant. They positioned the cameras to catch Dukakis riding up in glory on a M1 Abrams Tank. However instead of looking like Alexander The Great riding into battle, he looked awkward & out of place with the tank helmet. The manufactured nature of the event played into making him look small. What was supposed to be a photo-op for the Dukakis Campaign, became a commercial for the Bush Campaign.

George Bush - 1988 - Read My Lips

This is one of those cases where something that helps to get you elected comes back to bite you. At the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, George Herbert Walker Bush vowed that he wouldn't raise taxes by telling the public...

"And I'm the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he'll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that's one resort he'll be checking into. My opponent, my opponent won't rule out raising taxes. But I will. And The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again, and I'll say, to them, `Read my lips: no new taxes."

Bush broke the promise with the 1990 Budget, and this became a club that Clinton used to beat the ever lovin' shit out of him with in the 92 election.

Walter Mondale - 1984 - I Will Raise Your Taxes

There was probably no speech that Walter Mondale could have given at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco that would have won him the election. However, he probably wouldn't have lost 49 states & damaged the image of the Democratic Party for years to come, if not for his acceptance speech. Trying to show his honesty compared to Reagan, he decided to tell people...

"Let's tell the truth. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did."

While what he said may have been true, the speech fed the image of "Tax & Spend Liberals" that has been a talking point of Republicans ever since.

Dan Quayle - 1988 - Senator, You Are No Jack Kennedy

This is probably the clearest example of a politician being ruined from a blunder. Quayle would never really be taken seriously again after his encounter with Lloyd Bentsen in the 1988 VP Debate. Quayle already had "stature" problems to begin with. When he was questioned about it during the debate, he walked into one of the cleanest kills in political history with Lloyd Bentsen having the cunning of a pit-viper, nailed Quayle flush with his response....

Tom Brokaw: Senator Quayle, I don't mean to beat this drum until it has no more sound in it. But to follow up on Brit Hume's question, when you said that it was a hypothetical situation, it is, sir, after all, the reason that we're here tonight, because you are running not just for Vice President --


Brokaw: And if you cite the experience that you had in Congress, surely you must have some plan in mind about what you would do if it fell to you to become President of the United States, as it has to so many Vice Presidents just in the last 25 years or so.

Quayle: Let me try to answer the question one more time. I think this is the fourth time that I've had this question.

Brokaw: The third time.

Quayle: Three times that I've had this question -- and I will try to answer it again for you, as clearly as I can, because the question you are asking is what kind of qualifications does Dan Quayle have to be president, what kind of qualifications do I have and what would I do in this kind of a situation. And what would I do in this situation? [...] I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.

Judy Woodruff: Senator Bentsen.

Bentsen: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy.

(Prolonged shouts and applause)

Bentsen: What has to be done in a situation like that is to call in the --

Woodruff: Please, please, once again you are only taking time away from your own candidate.

Quayle: That was really uncalled for, Senator.

(Shouts and applause)

Bentsen: You are the one that was making the comparison, Senator -- and I'm one who knew him well. And frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.

You can watch the video of this exchange here. Even though Bush & Quayle would go on to win, Quayle's political career was severely damaged in seconds. His gaffes as Vice President, arguing about "Murphy Brown" or misspelling Potato(e), all fed into the image that he was a walking joke. There are some Republicans who believe that Bush should have replaced Quayle with another more viable VP in the 92 election, and he may have won.

Edmund Muskie - 1972 - Crying

Here's one of those things I wonder about how it might play today as opposed to the 1970s. Edmund Muskie was a Senator from Maine who was the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 1972. However, this would all collapse after an incident where he cried in response to attacks on him & his wife by the Manchester Union-Leader....

Prior to the New Hampshire primary, the so-called Canuck Letter was published in conservative New Hampshire newspaper, the Manchester Union-Leader. The letter claimed that Muskie had made disparaging remarks about French-Canadians - a remark likely to injure Muskie's support among the French-Canadian population in northern New England. Subsequently, the paper published an attack on the character of Muskie's wife Jane, reporting that she drank and used off-color language during the campaign.

Muskie decided to give an emotional speech outside the Union-Leader's offices defending himself and his wife...
"By attacking me, by attacking my wife, he has proved himself to be a gutless coward. And maybe I said all I should on it. It's fortunate for him he's not on this platform beside me. A good woman--

He appeared to cry during this (although Muskie claimed that it was from melted snowflakes), and the image of him became that of weakness. Muskie's candidacy collapsed. I wonder if something like this happened today, would the politician be looked down on in the same way as a "pussy" or would it actually garner sympathy and more support?

Republican National Convention - 1992 - Culture War

The purpose of a political convention is to reach out to people with a message in order to garner support. However, the 1992 Republican National Convention was a harbinger of the conservatism we fight today. It is most remember for the "Culture War" speech given by Pat Buchanan, which Molly Ivins said "probably sounded better in the original German." Buchanan stated...

"The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America -- abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat -- that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country."

Then you had the Vice President's wife, Marilyn Quayle, saying this...
"Not everyone believes that the family is so oppressive that women can only thrive apart from it...I sometimes think...liberals...are angry and disappointed because most women do not wish to be liberated from their essential natures as women. Most of us love being mothers and wives, which gives us a richness that few men or women get from professional accomplishment alone ...Nor has it made for a better society to liberate men from their obligations as husbands and fathers."

And then the RNC Chairman, Rich Bond, was telling reporters that in comparison to Democrats...
"We are America. They are not America."

Howard Dean - 2004 - Byaaah!!!

I know a lot of people here are not going to like this one. After coming in third at the 2004 Iowa Caucus, Dean gave a speech to the crowd that probably was the last nail that killed his Presidential campaign, where he "screamed"....

"Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York ... And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Byaaah!!!"

It instantly became fodder for comedians and late night talkshows. The pundit class called it unpresidential, and played it almost nonstop. Dean's lead in New Hampshire evaporated & was the beginnning of the end for the Dean Campaign.

Gary Hart - 1987 - Monkey Business

If you're running for President, it's probably not a good idea to challenge the press to report on your "extracaricular" activities. Such is the tale of Gary Hart's 1988 Presidential Run...

Hart officially declared his candidacy on April 13, 1987. Rumors began circulating nearly immediately that Hart was having an extramarital affair. In an interview that appeared in the New York Times on May 3,1987 Hart responded to the rumors by daring the press corps: "Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'll be very bored." The Miami Herald had been investigating Hart's rumored womanizing for weeks before the "dare" appeared in the New York Times. Two reporters from the Miami Herald had staked out his residence and observed an attractive young woman coming out of Hart's Washington, D.C., townhouse on the evening of May 2. The Herald published the story on Sunday, May 3, the same day Hart's dare appeared in print, and the scandal spread rapidly through the national media. Hart and his allies attacked the Herald for rushing the story into print, claiming that it had unfairly judged the situation without finding out the true facts. Hart claimed that the reporters had not watched both entrances to his home and could not have seen when the young woman entered and left the building. The Miami Herald reporter had flown to Washington, D.C. on the same flight as the woman, identified as Donna Rice. Hart was dogged with questions regarding his views on marital infidelity.

In public, his wife, Lee, supported him, claiming the relationship with the young woman was innocent. A poll of voters in New Hampshire for the New Hampshire Primary showed that Hart's support had dropped in half, from 32% to 17%, placing him suddenly ten points behind Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis.

On May 5, the Herald received a further tip that Hart had spent a night in Bimini on a yacht called the Monkey Business with a woman who was not his wife. The Herald obtained photographs of Hart aboard the Monkey Business with then-29-year-old model Donna Rice, sitting in over-50 year-old Hart's lap. The photographs were subsequently published in the National Enquirer. On May 8, 1987, a week after the Donna Rice story broke, Hart dropped out of the race. At a press conference, he lashed out at the media, saying "I said that I bend, but I don't break, and believe me, I'm not broken."

Bob Dole & Gerald Ford - 1976 - Democrat Wars And No Soviet Domination Of Eastern-Europe

In the 1976 Presidential Election, both Bob Dole & Gerald Ford had flubs in the Presidential & Vice Presidential debates that might have cost the ticket the election.

Bob Dole is now known as the nice old man that sold Viagra in commercials. However, part of Bob Dole's past reputation as a hatchet man comes from his performance in the Vice Presidential debate of 76. When asked about the pardon of President Nixon & it's use as an issue, Dole responded...

"It is an appropriate topic, I guess, but it's not a very good issue any more than the war in Vietnam would be or World War II or World War I or the war in Korea, all Democratic wars, all in this century. I figured up the other day. If we added up the killed and wounded in the Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans, enough to fill the city of Detroit. If we want to go back and rake that over and over again, we can do that."

Dole's comment was latched onto by the Carter campaign and Dole was criticized by veterans groups. However, Dole's remark isn't the one that's remembered from 76.

Gerald Ford had been lampooned on Saturday Night Live as an idiot by Chevy Chase, and the perception of him as a mental lightweight was pervasive. So when he was questioned about the Soviet's sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, Ford responded by saying....

"There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration."

The thousands of Warsaw Pact troops in Poland and East Germany didn't count I guess. The response fed into the image of Ford as a guy who didn't know what he was doing. Both of the gaffes by Ford & Dole may have been the margin in their close defeat in 76....

Originally posted to 医生的宫殿 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:25 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Most memorable? (13+ / 0-)

    Well, until they quashed every video record of it...
    what about Bush 41 puking on the PM of Japan's lap and then passing out in his own plate?

    Aber dieses ein Mal gewesen zu sein, wenn auch nur ein Mal: irdisch gewesen zu sein, scheint nicht widerrufbar. --Rilke

    by srkp23 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:25:36 PM PST

  •  i was gonna (8+ / 0-)

    vote for john kerry insulting our brave but somewhat intellectually lazy troops, because, you know, that cost us the election and...
    well,forget it

  •  I believe Bush allowing himself to be filmed (18+ / 0-)

    reading My Pet Goat will ultimately be THE symbol of his legacy.  I think it is the singlemost devastating record of ineffectuality in a leader, EVER.

    In D.C. they just take care of Number One, and Number One ain't you. You ain't even Number Two.

    by Ghost of Frank Zappa on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:27:25 PM PST

  •  This is great! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, QuickSilver, cowgirl, RudiB

    Wow, you did all this work and here it's the middle of the night. I'd hate to see this diary slip out of view. If I could recommend it more than once, I would. Great job!

    "Our long national nightmare is over. Our constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men." --Gerald Ford, August 9, 1974

    by JohnReed on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:28:56 PM PST

  •  Failure to Execute the Coup Against FDR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If they'd pulled that off

    --nobody could ever have dreamed what is possible.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:29:24 PM PST

  •  I Hate To Bring It Up... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dem4evr, RudiB

    ...and it's part of the reason I didn't include it in the diary, but who thinks that without John Kerry's "Joke" that we clearly win those 12 races that are still undecided, and Tester & Webb would have won with bigger margins with maybe Harold Ford having a 50-50 chance of taking Tennesseee?

    •  the reason (5+ / 0-)

      i brought it up was because i believe it had little or no effect, despite all the hand-wringing, insult hurling and people running around looking like a model for munch's "the scream"...i can't conceive anyone switching their vote because of it, much less tens of would have to be a COMPLETE DIMWIT (these do exist, admittedly)...
      my point is that the kerry gaffe (if you can honestly call it that) and the vaunted saddam verdict were essentially meaningless...

      •  Before (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the return of (some) sanity in the press (specifically Olbermann, but there were others here and there) It could've cost us more.  Yes, you expect most people to get it, and see the joke, but in this day and age, its easy for people to "know" something happened, even if they weren't there, or, even worse, to have been there, and still not gotten it.  

        Space is where the future is

        by FerrisValyn on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:44:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not me (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's irrelevant.

      In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. - George Orwell

      by badger on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:55:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Although this list is US-centric. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, rasbobbo, LithiumCola

    What about some of the shit that various monarchs did in the past leading more or less directly to revolutions?

    Paul Hodes is my new representative in Congress!!!

    by Laura Clawson on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:29:40 PM PST

  •  Al Gore attacking... (5+ / 0-)

    Michael Dukakis with the Willie Horton stuff during the primary(fucking Lehane) left Dukakis trying to look tough.

    Gary Hart picked the best looking woman since Marilyn Monroe slept with JFK, too bad Gary didn't have JFK's dad to fix his mistake.

    Dean was stunned by his early success, and just wasn't ready for it, but he has learned his lesson and is doing very well as DNC chair. The scream was bad but it wasn't a deal breaker.

    The culture war speech was awful, and it is truly amusing that Bill Clinton got elected that year, the holy rollers were not happy.

    The truth hurts, and Mondale learned that the hard way. Reagan went on to raise taxes and so did Bush senior and Clinton, I wonder who the next honest man will be in politics?

    BTW, great diary, recommend this bad boy, folks!

    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limits the freedom of another.

    by jbou on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:31:35 PM PST

  •  well I hate to be morbid (0+ / 0-)

    but for crying out loud why did JFK have to visit Dallas?

  •  I think "Macaca" goes down (14+ / 0-)

    as the biggest gaffe in modern political history.  Because honestly, while Webb was a pretty good candidate and Allen was a fairly lousy senator, there was no way that he could have won without that.  Not possible.  It was that moment that completely changed the race and not just the Virginia Senate race of 2006 but control of the United States Senate and the 2008 presidential scene.  Now with all the other reports of using the n-word, the allegations of wife beating, the killing a deer and stuffing it in a black family's mailbox, the vandalism against kids from Morningside High School, the apparent hispanic slurs, and the freakout over discovering his Jewish ancestry....that helped bring down Allen as well.  But "Macaca" was what gave it context.  The "macaca" gaffe opened all of it back up.  It got Virginians to pay attention to their Senator and the senate race and it brought in an outpouring of financial and volunteer support from within and outside the state without which Webb would not have won.  Now mind you, if we had a lesser candidate like Don Beyer or Harris Miller, we wouldn't have won the seat.  Jim Webb was a good candidate and was someone who could be elected.  But "macaca" brought down a campaign.  

    •  Future generations... (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sequoia, Rimjob, rocketito, tzt, SoCalLiberal, RudiB

      ....of political scientests will point to George Allen as a classic case of complete self-destruction by a candidate. As late as six or eight months ago, people were talking openly about George Allen as a very, very strong candidate for President in 2008, the logical heir to George W. Bush. He was considered to be a shoo-in for re-election to the Senate, so much so that he spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire laying the groundwork for a Presidential run. Then Jim Webb had the courage to take him on and then we had the Macaca Moment and it was all downhill from there, for him.

      •  Jim Webb has courage and guts (5+ / 0-)

        And I am proud to say that I helped volunteer for him.  A man like that is worthy of my time.  I should add that people do a lot of stupid shit when they're young.  So a lot of the stuff that Allen did in the 70's could have been overlooked.  But with the "macaca" gaffe it made people realize how angry Allen still is and made people realize that this wasn't some shit that happenned in the past when he was young and immature, it is something that defines him.  He is a racist, he beleives in white superiority.  

    •  Significant But Certainly Not Worst... (0+ / 0-) modern political history unless 'modern' era begins circa September, 2006.

      Let's keep things in perspective here.

      I'd  say Byaaaa ! was a far, far bigger gaffe because that led to the biggest meltdown of a viable Presidential campaign in the past generation.  People will be analyzing the Dean train wreck for years to come.

  •  Funny how "The Scream" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV, offgrid

    Could really be a rallying cry for the 50 State Strategy. ;)

  •  Not the worst, but (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sequoia, jab, ptmflbcs, Elwood Dowd, katier

    Trent Lott's comments at Strom Thurmond's bday party cost him dearly.

    Also, Al Gore's invention of the internet came back to haunt him.

  •  where's the poll? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Use your green to turn New England blue! Donate here.

    by jab on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:37:50 PM PST

  •  Great work! All the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sequoia, Rimjob, Progrocks, oculus, The Raven

    Lots of foolish and unfortunate moments for all of them -- Muskie choking up in the wet snow, was that a tear or melting snowflake? Quayle getting served by Bentsen. Dukakis in the tanking in the tank.

    But looking at poor Gary Hart. The man's a genius. A political pro who ran McGovern's primary campaign in 1972 and practically invented grass-roots campaigning. Russian scholar, diplomacy, the man knew too much not to be president. But he couldn't keep his pants on. And everyone knew it. And he was, after nearly knocking off Mondale in 84, the man to beat in 1988. He was, essentially, the next president. The whole country knew it. He was on Cheers for gods sake. And there he was, not just letting Donna Rice sit on his lap, not just doing in front of a boat called Monkey Business (and wearing the T-shirt!) he let someone (who?) take his picture!

    And this guy's not getting laid? He must have known, subconsciously, that he didn't want the job. Because it was his.

    So I say it's Hart. For now. There's time. There's something about McCain -- his position as the President in Waiting -- his having come close before -- from out west, maverick, short-fused -- he might give us our next biggest gaffe.

    Biden's plagarised Kinnock speeches might be fitting and timely.

    •  Slicing birthday cake during Katrina (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, Sassy

      That and hugging Bush in that creepy way are 2 huge gaffes by McCain just waiting to be exploited in the unlikely event that he actually gets the Republican nomination....

      "This party's strength does not come from the consultants down, it comes from the grassroots up." --Howard Dean

      by Jim in Chicago on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:53:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bless you for praising and damining Hart (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Lots of people did the pop-psychology thing on Hart. I don't know if that's fair. The dude had chutzpah, is all. He thought a wee bit too much with the little head -- we're all guilty of that, but he there was more riding on his staying in line. Hart was very smart, and his biggest failing was he knew it, too. It was a big ego trip for him. His arrogance might have tripped him up n the election, anyway -- but I had faith in the guy.

      "We support your war of terror!" -- Borat Sagdiyev (a/k/a Sacha Baron Cohen)

      by FischFry on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:08:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't blame Gary (0+ / 0-)

      Donna Rice was pretty hot.  In fact, of all the politician extramarital affairs or rumors of, I'd say she was the hottest and far, FAR better than the other Rice, Condi.

  •  1974: Wilbur Mills/Fanny Foxe & Tidal Basin: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mills Admits Being Present During Tidal Basin Scuffle
    By Stephen Green and Margot Hornblower
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Oct. 11, 1974
    © The Washington Post
    Rep. Wilbur D. Mills (D-Ark.) yesterday broke three days of silence and denials by admitting that U.S. Park Police found him with his face cut after they stopped his speeding car near the Tidal Basin at 2 a.m. Monday.

    In a statement issued by his Capitol Hill office, Mills said his face was cut from his eyeglasses, which broke as he tried to stop an ill woman neighbor, Mrs. Eduardo Battistella, from leaving the vehicle, which, according to police, had no lights on. Identified by police as Annabell Battistella, 38, the woman jumped into the Tidal Basin and was rescued after the car was stopped.

    Mills, 65, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he had left his wife, Polly, home at her request Sunday night as she had a broken foot.

  •  Earl Butz (11+ / 0-)

    He lost his job as Secretary of Agriculture under President Ford after making this oh-so-sensitive remark about African-Americans: "Let me tell you what the coloreds want. They want three things: Tight pussy, loose shoes, and a warm place to shit."

    •  good one (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, as I recall Butz had a habit of telling offensive jokes, that one was only his most tasteless.

      All your vote are belong to us.

      by Harkov311 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:54:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  wow, I'd forgotten about (0+ / 0-)

          Earl "Loose Shoes" Butz.
        There are sure a lot of classic gaffes out there.
           I liked "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" when he lost CA-Gov to Pat Brown.
           Of course that wasn't as damaging as "I am not a Crook" later on.
            This year's award has to go to Felix Macaca, but a strong runner up is Lame-brain lame-duck Conrad Burns with his "piss poor" firefighters comment, and the little Guatamalan guy who worked for him.

        I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

        by Zack from the SFV on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 12:26:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd have to nominate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, LithiumCola

    the entire 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.  That was a nightmare, and may have played a significant role in helping get Nixon elected.

  •  Gotta be Mondale (9+ / 0-)
    Because his, "I will raise your taxes" bit ruined not only his own chance at the presidency, but it damaged the Democratic Party for decades to come. That one single remark, misinterpreted as it was, changed the nature of American politics and history.

    That is not an exaggeration.

    The Dean thing does hurt to read. I loved the scream. I do not understand how it became fodder. If anything, it only reinforced my admiration for Dean. I would vote for him in a heartbeat. I wish we'd run him for President. It did not diminish my enthusiasm for him. His 50 State Strategy is why we are celebrating America's return to sanity today. But you're right. It killed him.

    And Hart. Godammit that was sad. He was the best thing we ever had going. We almost saw the emergence of another Kennedy. Our history would have been entirely different except for the Rice thing. He would have been elected and BushCo wouldn't have happened and... I'd better stop now before I weep for what could have been.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:42:49 PM PST

  •  James Watt (7+ / 0-)

    Saying "I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent."

    Resigned two weeks later.

    "It was a thumping." -George W. Bush 11/08/06

    by clonecone on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:44:29 PM PST

    •  He was a hateful man. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

      by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:52:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bulbous googly-eyed Watt (0+ / 0-)
      A blast from the past. Y'know, I repeated his gaffe at work to a colleague the other, as evidence of why Republicans tend to suck at government. They hire people like Watt to be Secretary of the Interior, industry hacks. And my friend says, "Who's Watt?" And mentioned the line you quote here and he went, "Oh yeah, that guy."

      Isn't this a fun diary? Reading these comments is like snackin' on pistachios!

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 04:44:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rocketito, BoxerRebellion

    Clayton Williams and his various comments will not be enough to be considered.

    Via Wikipedia:

    Williams spent freely from his personal fortune, running a "Good Old Boy" campaign [2] initially appealing to conservatives. Prior to a series of legendary gaffes, he was leading Richards by as much as 20 points in the polls, and was in striking distance of becoming only the second Republican governor of Texas since Reconstruction.

    In one of his widely-publicized missteps, Williams failed to shake Ann Richards' hand in a public debate, an act seen as uncouth. Senator John Tower had similarly refused to shake the hand of Democratic opponent Robert Krueger in a 1978 appearance but went on to win a fourth term by the narrowest of margins. Williams was not as fortunate.

    Earlier, Williams made an infamous joke to reporters, likening bad weather to rape, quipping, "as long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it." 1 In addition, it has been claimed that as an undergrad at Texas A&M, he had participated in visits to the Chicken Ranch, a well-known Texas brothel in La Grange. His sense of humor was again demonstrated when he urged Hispanics to support his candidacy because he met Modesta in a Mexican restaurant.

    And Rush Holt v. Mike Pappas:

    Holt ran again in 1998 and won the primary, pitting him against conservative Congressman Mike Pappas in the general election. Pappas was hurt by reading a poem, set to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, praising Kenneth Starr on the floor of the House of Representatives. Holt won the election by a 50-47% margin, becoming the first Democrat to represent the district in two decades.

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:45:19 PM PST

    •  He refused to shake Ann's hand (0+ / 0-)

      on camera.  Not just an asshole, but unbelievably stupid--the whole state got to watch him be nasty to a lady.  God, it was so satisfying to see him lose that race!

      "Why, Tom, we're the people that live. They ain't gonna wipe us out. Why, we're the people--we go on." Ma Joad, The Grapes of Wrath

      by rocketito on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 04:13:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Remember the potato/potatoe incident? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, Harkov311, begone, theyrereal, RudiB

    Dan Quayle totally established that his IQ was somewhere below average with that nonsense. No one (if there was anyone left) took him seriously after that.

    What we have learned, though, is that Bush's brain is well below his.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

    by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:47:22 PM PST

  •  Hmm... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Well, let's look at the results:

    Ford and Dole lost in 1976
    Mondale lost big in 1984
    Gary Hart's campaign fizzled out before the 1988 primaries
    Dukakis lost in 1988
    Bush/Quale didn't lose in 1988, but did in 1992
    Pat Buchanan is now a commentator on TV
    Dubya's approval rating is 40% on a really good day
    Howard Dean is Chairman of the Democratic Party
    George Allen just lost reelection

    So no one fared that well from this stuff.

    Current House tally: 230 Democrats, 196 Republicans; 9 undecided

    by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:48:30 PM PST

  •  photo right here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, LithiumCola, begone

    Why he was allowed to get away with this is a real mind-blower.

  •  "Hubert Horatio Hornblower" (0+ / 0-)

    I still don't want to believe that one simple mistake
    (which would have been funny in another context)
    might have been a step on the way to the day before
    yesterday. I mean, I'm celebrating now, but that turned
    out badly for us. A simple mistake by a wonderful man.

    It is never too late to be what you might have been...George Eliot (And so we begin again: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006!)

    by begone on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:49:45 PM PST

  •  "Heckuva job, Brownie" (15+ / 0-)

    The term "heckuva job" entered the national discourse immediately, and will forever be associated with both "fucking things up beyond measure" and "I am clueless."

  •  going waayyyy baackkkkk.... (6+ / 0-)

    we can't forget Hoover feeding his dog on the White House lawn during the heights of the Great Depression while people were starving, and veterans were sleeping in tent cities, just outside.

    Barry Goldwater's entire 1964 campaign....the guy got a bum rap; he was really a decent guy, but I don't think anyone can dispute that his 1964 general election campaign was possibly the single most inept attempt at gaining the White House by anyone in history...

    Damn, there's dozens, someone should write a book...

  •  My nominations (6+ / 0-)

    Well, I have to grant you a lot of those ones listed above.  But I'd like to add the following:

    1. Barry Goldwater's 1964 "extremism" remark: Goldwater had a talent for phrasing things in such a way as to do maximum self-immolation, but this doomed him not only to defeat, which would likely have happened anyhow, but to an embarassing landslide defeat.  Note to future politicians: nobody thinks extremism in anything is a virtue.  The word itself is loaded.

    2. Herbert Hoover's unhinged last days: By 1932, Hoover was basically a dead duck already, but in the last days of his losing campaign against Franklin Roosevelt the soft-spoken Iowa engineer suddenly began sounding worryingly like Curt Weldon.  At a speech in New York, Hoover declared that the blue-blooded FDR was a socialist radical, and that if his program was carried out "grass will grow in the streets of a hundred cities, a thousand towns, weeds will overrun the fields of a million farms."  He then finished this rant/speech by comparing FDR and his backers in Congress to Lenin.  Real classy, Herbie.

    3. Robert Taft's poo-pooing of his own platform: In 1948, in one of the gutsiest political moves of the last 75 years Harry Truman put together a bill containing the progressive changed endorsed at the 1948 GOP convention by Thomas Dewey, and dared Republican-Controlled Congress to pass it.  They didn't but Sen. Robert Taft then proceeded to twist the knife in Dewey's back by calling hos own party's platform an "omnubus left-wing program."  Oops.

    4. Dole's cancer denial: In 1996, Bob Dole made a lot of mistakes.  He refused to use his legendary sense of humor on the campaign trail.  He picked a supply-sider for VP at a time when the theory was becoming rather thoroughly discredited.  But his most laugh-inducing moment was when, apparently in a bid for votes in KY, he declared that he agreed with the tobacco lobby line that cigarettes didn't cause cancer.  I was only in 7th grade at the time, but even us pubescent boys had a good chuckle over that one.

    All your vote are belong to us.

    by Harkov311 on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:52:48 PM PST

    •  Lol (4+ / 0-)
      1. Dole's cancer denial: In 1996, Bob Dole made a lot of mistakes.  He refused to use his legendary sense of humor on the campaign trail.  He picked a supply-sider for VP at a time when the theory was becoming rather thoroughly discredited.  But his most laugh-inducing moment was when, apparently in a bid for votes in KY, he declared that he agreed with the tobacco lobby line that cigarettes didn't cause cancer.  I was only in 7th grade at the time, but even us pubescent boys had a good chuckle over that one.

      I was in the 6th grade at the time so I guess I was just starting puberty at the time.  I remember how we all made fun of Bob Dole.  My elementary school held a mock election and I remember our principal getting on the school ampiphone to announce the results:

      48 for Clinton
      1 for Dole

      In the 7th grade, a little less than a year later at a new school, we had to elect student council leaders.  One of the girls launched a winning campaign by giving a speech where she made fun of Bob Dole.  It was quite funny.

      •  Maybe you remember at the convention (0+ / 0-)

        Dole's supporters in the crowd were waving big signs that read: 15%.  That's all.  15%.  Referring to Dole's proposed across-the-board tax cut.

        It was pathetic to watch.  The signs might as well have said: "Dole has no ideas but will buy your vote, please?"

        "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

        by LithiumCola on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:30:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The second biggest gaffe of this year (4+ / 0-)

    Would have to be John Sweeney at the drunken/stoned frat party.  First of all, I'm still in shock that he lost and lost by as much as he did.  But I don't think that would have happenned if not for his adventures.  When are these 50 something men going to learn, they're not in their early 20's anymore!  That goes for John Sweeney and Mark Foley and all the other mofoes.  Now perhaps it was the allegations of wife beating that ultimately brought Sweeney down.  But had it not been for his little adventure, I don't think this race would have received enough attention.

    Oh and I don't think Dean's Iowa scream was the biggest "gaffe".  By that point, he had already lost the primary race.  As soon as he lost Iowa, he was done.  

  •  I was gonna vote for the Gary Hart one (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, xynz, Harkov311, QuickSilver

    Even before I scrolled down and saw it listed in your post...

    He was cruising for victory until that bullshit hit the fan....

    And the sad thing is, he was and remains one of the smartest dems ever.

    Jesse Jackson's "Hymie-town" comment was up there too.

    But so was Trent Lott's affable valentine to Strom Thurmond.

    I'm sure Jerry Brown deserves an honorable mention for something or other...
    allthought, like Gary Hart, he was as smart as they come.

    McGovern's comment that he was behind his vice presidential runningmate Thomas Eagleton, shortly after news surfaced that he had undergone electro-shock therapy for depression, was another one of those historical gaffes.

  •  Toss-up: Ford, Hart & Allen (0+ / 0-)

    Allen's was the most grostesque -- but he was only running for Senate. Ford's was the most politically bizarre -- the worst gaffe on issues. And Hart's was the absolutely stupidest fucking thing ever. Daring the media to follow him and report on his trysts? It was also the most personally devastating. I'd voluteered for his '84 campaign and was about to start work in '87, following my graduation, when the shit hit the fan.

    Of course, you left off Bill's hummers and then lying about it in deposition, and then the unforgettable public denial...Pretty bad stuff that could've wrecked a Presidency -- but Bill wasn't really doing anything with it anyway, so I put Hart higher on the list.

    "We support your war of terror!" -- Borat Sagdiyev (a/k/a Sacha Baron Cohen)

    by FischFry on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:02:07 PM PST

    •  Just to be fair (0+ / 0-)

        Ford's comment did not display a poor command of the issues -- nobody can really doubt his anti-communist credentials -- but a poor management of the English language.  What he certainly meant was that the United States recognized the Eastern European countries as independent states and not as part of a recognized "sphere of influence"; his statements were indeed couched in the Cold War context of trying to pry away the Eastern European states from the Soviets (a tactic that had some effect, e.g. in Romania, where the loathsome Ceausescu did manage to conduct a relatively independent foreign policy).  Ford also wanted to reject the notion that, in participating in the Helsinki talks, the U.S. had somehow sold out or betrayed the Eastern European states to the Soviet Union.  He put it in a poor way, but his statement made sense outside of the narrow context of American politics.
        As for Dole, his remarks were definitely mean-spirited and part of a lousy line of defense of the Nixon Administration.  Nonetheless, he was factually correct: by luck of the draw, it so happened that Democrats happened to be in power on three occasions in the 20th century when large wars broke out, though in fact both Wilson and Roosevelt initially made efforts to keep out of wars in progress, and in the end there was no partisan difference over the two World Wars and Korea.  Vietnam can be laid largely at the doorstep of the Johnson (and to some extent the Kennedy) administrations; but Nixon managed to broaden the conflict with disastrous results for the people of Laos and Cambodia, and of course, in the years since Dole made his remark there have been no lack of "Republican Wars".  But his statement was not really a "gaffe", just a snide Republican witticism, based to some extent on fact, that was allowed to escape from the dinner table to the public sphere.

      •  I didn't mention Dole (0+ / 0-)

        Wasn't doubting Ford's anti-communist credentials, just his blindness to reality. We had sold out the Eastern European states -- and they clearly were captive states within Soviet sphere. Our rhetoric to the contrary, we let the Soviets do their thing in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, and would have in Poland, except the Poles ahd their own ideas.

        And I didn't bring up Dole's line -- I didn't realize that was thought of as a gaffe -- just an mean-spirited political line from a curmudgeon...that had little or no impact on the final result. Just to be fair.

        "We support your war of terror!" -- Borat Sagdiyev (a/k/a Sacha Baron Cohen)

        by FischFry on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 11:07:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  John Kerry duck hunting in '04 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, BoxerRebellion

    I was for John Kerry before I was against him.

    "When thought is too weak to be simply expressed, it's clear proof that it should be rejected." Luc de Clapiers

    by RudiB on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:13:42 PM PST

  •  George Romney (6+ / 0-)

    "I was brainwashed."

  •  What impresses me most (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sequoia, Elwood Dowd, tzt

     Is how trivial, ridiculous, and manufactured these "gaffes" are (with a very few exceptions).  Far from providing enlightening insight into the character of the candidate, they serve to obscure and obfuscate the actual nature of the political contest.  We need a media that will not focus on "gaffes", but instead on real issues.

      (By the way, not all gaffes are created equal; you remember Mondale's statement -- absolutely true -- about the necessity of raising taxes, but not Reagan's rambling soliloquy about California coastal roads in a later debate, which suggested that -- on top of his own limited intelligence and intellectual laziness -- he was actually losing control of his faculties.  It turned out to be among the first public signs of incipient Alzheimer's Disease -- but the Reaganophile media allowed those concerns to be obliterated by a lame joke about Mondale's "youth and inexperience" (he was, of course, an ex-Vice-President in graying middle age with considerably more experience in political office than Reagan himself).

      As a result, not only did the Republicans get to consolidate power for four more years, but a man whose brain was slowly falling apart was forced to spend four more years at the helm of this country, four years in which he found himself increasingly unable to perform his duties, which toward the end came to be little more than reading off cue cards. Such is the cruelty with which the Republicans treat their own.

    •  Reagan was the worst (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tzt, LithiumCola
      as far as gaffes go.

      Every day it seems it was one absolutely STUPID comment after another.

      From "trees polluting more than cars" to "we start bombing the Soviet Union in seven minutes" (or whatever the exact wording was), the man was just a horrible embarrassment.

      I would actually get embarrassed FOR him, and I despised him.

      The only professional politician actually worse than George W. Bush in a news conference was Ronald Reagan.   Unscripted, he came across like a stammering dolt.  Which he was.

      •  True story about Reagan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elwood Dowd, tzt

        But I forget if it was the 80 or 84 campaign.

        He was out campaigning with Nancy.  They went to a church.  Communion.  Reagan was confused about what to do.  Nancy whispered, "Just do what I do."  Nancy took the wafer and the wine, but accidently dropped the wafer in the cup.  Flustered, she gave the cup to her husband.

        Reagan, complacently, took his wafer and dropped it in the cup.  Later, he felt the event went swimmingly.

        "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

        by LithiumCola on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:37:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with all of these except for "the Scream" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Which was really more like a loud, brief gargle. Some of the above are actual "gaffes". Some, like the Dean scream, or the Muskie in tears moment, were media exaggerations.

    The Dean scream is only important because: 1) it was given a cute name, 2) it was repeated literally thousands of times on Fox News, and other organizations just assume that it was important, and so repeated it too. It was not important. Dean said nothing. He did nothing that would be considered undignified by the crowed he was addressing (college students). It was simply magnified and repeated. Same thing happened to Muskie. A brief moment in which he said nothing in particular was magnified.

    Now, here's a better and more recent example: Hillary Clinton's victory speech in New York. What she said made perfect sense. Her delivery was nasal, high-pitched (she is a woman and was speeking to a boisterous and noisy crowd), and midwestern flat. That's how she talks. But none of that was important. The Propaganda machine focused on HER HANDS. She was clapping. Slowly. Kind of mechanically. And then they just kept talking about their hands.

    And then the next day at work, someone said "Did you see her hands??? That was when I realized what a dangerous world we live in, where the Senator from New York can win by a zillion percent of the vote, give a victory speech that may be a precursor to an historic campaign, and then they talk about her hands.

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:19:13 PM PST

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      I always thought that Hillary doesn't have the best oratory voice in the world. She needs to worry less about projecting and talk in a 'normal' voice. People will listen.

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

      by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:27:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nixon: "I am not a crook." (9+ / 0-)

    Hands down.

    Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. --Jane Addams

    by shock on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:21:11 PM PST

  •  Let's not forget Imelda (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bato, RudiB

    Doesn't the fight for survival also justify swindle and theft? In self defence, anything goes.

    I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.

    I hate ugliness. You know I'm allergic to ugliness.

    I was born ostentatious. They will list my name in the dictionary someday. They will use 'Imeldific' to mean ostentatious extravagance.

    If you know how rich you are, you are not rich. But me, I am not aware of the extent of my wealth. That's how rich we are.

    It is terribly important to do certain things, such as wear overembroidered dresses. After all, the mass follows class. Class never follows mass.

    It's the rich you can terrorize. The poor have nothing to lose.

    My husband does not like me to give interviews because I say too much. No talk, no trouble.

    Never dress down for the poor. They won't respect you for it. They want their First Lady to look like a million dollars.

    People say I'm extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded by garbage?

    The problems with First Ladies is that you have to set the standard. My role is to be both star and slave.
    Imelda Marcos

    They call me corrupt, frivolous. I am not at all privileged. Maybe the only privileged thing is my face. And corrupt? God! I would not look like this if I am corrupt. Some ugliness would settle down on my system.

    We practically own everything in the Philippines.

    Nuff said.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

    by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:22:24 PM PST

  •  Poor Hillary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuickSilver, RudiB

    and her 'cookies' incident.

    Her handlers did her wrong with that one.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

    by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:24:51 PM PST

  •  fun diary, great chuckles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't remember the names but what recent Republican praised a known racist by commented what a different place our country would be if he had been elected ?

    -8.63 -7.28 He was carrying a skateboard on his back, a red rose in his fist, and the war.

    by OneCrankyDom on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:26:41 PM PST

  •  Dukakis punting the debate question (4+ / 0-)

    about capital punishment posed by Bernie Shaw.

    "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"

    Dukakis replied, "No, I don't, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life,..."

    "When thought is too weak to be simply expressed, it's clear proof that it should be rejected." Luc de Clapiers

    by RudiB on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:27:39 PM PST

    •  Interestingly, Tony Blair stated Britain does not (0+ / 0-)

      have the death penalty and, even as to Saddam Hussein, Blair would not impose that penalty.  Same thing as Dukakis sd., really.

    •  That's not a gaffe (0+ / 0-)

      that's principled. If you're against death penalty, you're against it.

      •  It was a gaffe (0+ / 0-)

        I watched that and my mouth dropped. Bernie served him a softball and he didn't even swing. The sort of answer to give was obvious:

        If something like that happened, Bernie, I would want to personally slaughter each and every suspect. And I probably wouldn't be too careful about how certain I was of their guilt. That's one reason I'm against the death penalty: our reactions to horrible crimes can kill innocent people.

        •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

          Cultural differences, I guess. If a politician in Europe said "I would want to personally slaughter each and every suspect" people would probably think that he's unhinged.

          •  Context and the gaffe (0+ / 0-)

            The damaging gaffes underscore a character trait in the candidate that people have already wondered about. So Jerry Ford is vulnerable to a "stupid" gaffe, George Allen to a "racist" gaffe.

            Dukakis was running as a competent manager. The companion, damaging character trait that people wondered about was, "Is he a bloodless, emotionless accountant?"

            That's why a straight, uninflected policy answer when asked about the rape and murder of his wife did serious damage.

      •  Agreed--but to me Dukakis was also standing by (0+ / 0-)

        principles even given the worst possible hypothetical scenario.

  •  People here won't like this one, but... (6+ / 0-)

    When Clinton said "that woman", as in "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky", it really was a huge gaff (no matter what your opinion is of the context and the circumstances surrounding that).

    Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. --Jane Addams

    by shock on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:31:19 PM PST

  •  There were a couple (0+ / 0-)

    of big gaffes in this years Minnesota governors race that cost the Dem ticket the office to incumbent Repub Tom Pawlenty. The Dem, Mike Hatch, had a poll lead of 5 to 10 pts. thru the whole campaign. Then in the last week his Lt. Gov. running mate was asked about E-85, a gasoline substitute with ethanol made from corn. Very big in the midwest and MN has lots of corn farmers. She didn't know what it was!! Became a BIG story. When reporters started badgering Hatch about this he apparently got mad and testy and called one reporter a "Republican Whore". That became a REALLY BIG story...all this in the last week of the campaign. He ended up losing by 1% to Pawlenty.

  •  One of my favorites - Little Ricky's (3+ / 0-)

    "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality".

    Damn, I bet he's just dreaming about all the time he'll have to check out the 'man on dog' stuff.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

    by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:35:29 PM PST

  •  GHWB (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Looking at his watch during the debate with Clinton.

    Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it fresh water and feed it clean air. -- Dr. Seuss

    by mwk on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:35:37 PM PST

  •  Hillary: "vast right wing conspiracy" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoxerRebellion, LithiumCola

    She was right, but it set her back years.

    Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. --Jane Addams

    by shock on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:36:47 PM PST

    •  When she said that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was overjoyed, at that time, to know that I wasn't the only person in the world who thought there was a 'conspiracy'.

      But I agree, they jumped on that pretty badly.

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

      by BoxerRebellion on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:39:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kerry was for the 87 billion. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Say what you want about Florida, that was heinous.

    Kerry can't seem to get through a campaign with fucking up beyond all recognition at least once.

    "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

    by LithiumCola on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 11:46:37 PM PST

  •  How about Nixon sweating during the debate? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, shock

    It wasn't really a gaffe because they hadn't yet figured out how televised debates were supposed to work, but he spent the rest of his life battling the 5-oclock shadow stereotype that came from that. Oh - and he lost the election by what was considered at that time, the teeniest of margins. We didn't know "teeny"!

  •  Jimmy Carter: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, Boston Boomer

    Jimmy Carter's 'Lust in the Heart' Playboy Interview – 1976
    Carter admitted in an unsolicited comment to two Playboy freelance writers that he had "looked on a lot of women with lust" and had "committed adultery in my heart many times," strange revelations all the more damaging because they appeared in a soft-porn magazine.

    •  What about Jimmy Carter (0+ / 0-)

      paddling furiously away from the "killer rabbit"?

    •  'Lust in the Heart' Not a Gaffe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elwood Dowd, Harkov311

      Jimmy Carter was the first President to run as an avowed 'born again Christian' and I think the Playboy interview made Carter seem less pious and more like an 'ordinary guy.'  I think it helped his campaign.

      •  I didn't. This interview and the cardigan really (0+ / 0-)

        hurt him, I thought.

        •  You Are Right About Playboy Interview (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Here are excerpts from a documentary about Jimmy Carter

          Narrator: Alarmed that support among liberal Democrats was eroding, Carter's young staff made a bold move.

          Pat Caddell: We did the Playboy interview to show that that being a born-again Christian, was not a threat to more secular Democrats and young people.

          Narrator: For five hours, Carter tried to explain his views on culture, politics and faith. Toward the end of the interview, exasperated at not being understood, he said, "I've looked at on lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times."

          Pat Caddell: If you read the interview, the "lust in your heart" line was, to try to explain that he, too, was a sinner. But the language was ­ and I would see this all the time, Carter used language that was germane to his world, like we all do, to our own cultural context.

          Betty Glad: Here's a guy who is so moral that on the one hand he talks about, he's lusted after women in his heart, and he talks about shacking up, and he uses language that's going to really enrage and turn off a lot of people.

          Doug Brinkley: Do not underestimate what a crisis that interview and the "lust in my heart" caused Carter. It almost derailed the entire Carter campaign. They were in havoc over it.

          Pat Caddell: In retrospect it was kind of amusing. It wasn't very funny at the time. Trying to explain to people that Jimmy Carter was not some child molester, you know, I mean, or pervert.

          Carter: The Playboy thing has been of very great concern to me. I don't know how to deal with it, exactly. I . . .

          Narrator: By the time Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford met in the first of two presidential debates, Carter's lead had evaporated. The momentum belonged to Ford. Two weeks later he blundered.

          Gerald Ford: There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.

          Debate panelist: Uh, I'm sorry, could I just follow, did I just understand you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence and . . .

          Jimmy Carter: American Experience

  •  oy, way to make me cringe.. (0+ / 0-)

    SO many scandals....

  •  Bush Senior's Amazed Reaction to a Supermarket... (7+ / 0-)

    ...checkout scanner during the '92 campaign.  It showed how out of touch he was.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 12:08:20 AM PST

  •  Katherine Harris: when she _____________ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elwood Dowd, LithiumCola

    'nuff said.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 12:09:38 AM PST

  •  Colin Powell's Speech to the UN... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...he coulda been a contender.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 12:12:01 AM PST

  •  Teresa Heinz Kerry: (0+ / 0-)

    "Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job—I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things."[

  •  Does anyone else remember Sen. Roman Hruska (R-NE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elwood Dowd, Harkov311

      who when questioned about his intelligence or abilities said something to the effect that dumb people needed representation, too. This was probably sometime in the early "70s or so.
      Another good Senatorial gaffe that cost a seat was when Sen. S.I. "Sleeping Sam" Hayakawa (R-CA) was observed on more than one occasion napping in sessions of the Senate. He lost his seat in a primary the next time around to Pete Wilson, the last elected Senator from CA.

    I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

    by Zack from the SFV on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 12:49:28 AM PST

  •  Pete Wilson and Prop 187 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Harkov311, oculus

      Not as much a gaffe as a miscalculation, but Wilson's embrace of the anti-immigrant Prop 187 is a big reason why CA is now seen as a blue state rather than a swing state. It won him the 1994 Gubernatorial race (against the hapless Kathleen Brown, who he may have beaten anyway), but severely hurt the GOP with Latino and other immigrant voters ever since. 1994 was the last time that the Repubs were anywhere near parity in the CA Legislature (briefly controlling the Assembly). Now there are areas of the state that used to be GOP strongholds that elect mostly Democrats (such as the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena area and Long Beach).

    I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

    by Zack from the SFV on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 01:01:34 AM PST

  •  Carter: "I have lusted in my heart . . ." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elwood Dowd, oculus, ActivistGuy

    That was a huge "oh, no" sigh.  

    And LBJ hoisting a dog up by it's ears.  And showing off his surgery scar.

    Wow, do these memories date me, or what?

    evangelism = holier than thou

    by tovan on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 02:53:06 AM PST

  •  The Worst Gaffe That Wasn't.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rocketito, churchylafemme, oculus

    ....was the Dean "scream".  I was IN the room, next to the speaker, and the din of the crowd was so loud as to almost be comparable to the "Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl" album, which if you've ever heard it, you can't hear the Beatles above the screams.  Same effect here.  You can't hear ANYTHING Dean said in the room, the "scream" included, above the crowd.  In fact, it seemed, even throughout the rest of the speech that he was straining to be heard.  So when you lift it out of context, without the room sound, and play it non stop on every channel, you have the worst gaffe that wasn't.  I have proof of this truth in my movie, "Doolittle Raiders".

    Host a screening of my animated documentary DOOLITTLE RAIDERS!!!

    by tkmattson on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 03:06:48 AM PST

  •  Joe Biden's heartwarming autobiographical... (0+ / 0-)

    ...taale, that turned out to have been from Neil Kinnock's youth.

  •  Elements of the classic gaffe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1. It occurs when the candidate is first getting national exposure, before the general public has formed an opinion of him/her. The same mistake made by a well-known figure has less impact.
    1. It reinforces a negative stereotype already in circulation among the pundits: stupidity, meanness, racism, womanizer, elitism.

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