The Most Memorable Political Gaffes
A look at some of the Most Embarrassing Moments from Campaigns Over the Years
Herman Cain is not the first politician to get caught unprepared, on the record. Below a look at some of the most embarrassing political gaffes in recent memory.
Jeanine Pirro, 2005
Though best known to tv audiences today as “Judge Jeanine,” Pirro was once a formidable Republican politician, having served as District Attorney for Westchester County before running for state and federal office in New York. The FOX News personality was considered a serious contender to face then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton until Pirro had the kind on camera flub that most of us have nightmares about. Did I mention it took place the day she officially announced her candidacy? Take a look at “The Daily Show’s” take on it:
George W. Bush, 1999
If one ever needed proof that a candidate can survive an embarrassing on air blunder and still win the presidency, just review Exhibit A, the first presidential campaign of George W. Bush. During a 1999 interview with a Boston tv reporter, the then Texas Governor was startled by a foreign affairs pop quiz of sorts. The result, wasn’t quite as bad as that recurring dream of finding yourself sitting in a classroom naked, but almost: "Bush Fails Quiz on Foreign Affairs"
Jesse Jackson, 1988
A decade before Bush’s on-air pop quiz, conservative columnist George Will delivered one to Jackson, with similarly embarrassing results. Will asked Jackson "As president, would you support measures such as the G-7 measures in the Louvre accords?" When Jackson asked Will to “Explain that,” the moment provided grist for Will’s column challenging Jackson’s qualifications for office. Critics argued that race played a role in Will’s grilling—with some noting that the Louvre accords represented an arcane piece of foreign policy that few policy wonks were well versed in and that other candidates had not been quizzed about. Will argued that critics mentioning race were attempting to hold Jackson to a different standard precisely because he was black; an argument Will seemed to have forgotten when he defended George W. Bush during his foreign policy quiz failure a decade later.
Christine O’Donnell, 2010
There were so many cringe worthy moments from Christine O’Donnell’s 2010 Senate run that it’s hard to remember them all, and one that may get lost in the shuffle amidst the “I am not a witch” brouhaha is this gem from the debate. When asked to name a Supreme Court decision she disagreed with, a major party nominee for the United States Senate sounded less informed than most junior high government students, and that’s being generous.
Rick Perry, 2012
No list of political gaffes would be complete without this highlight from the 2012 presidential debates, in which Gov. Rick Perry had what the political elite officially refer to as a brain fart. (Okay maybe the polite term is brain “freeze.”) Whatever it was, it will probably officially now be known in future debates as “having a Perry.”
Keli Goff is Loop 21's senior contributor. For more on Keli visit keligoff.com