Politicians say dumb things sometimes, sometimes due to actual dumbness, but generally the combined result of hours spent traveling in hundreds of different cities, trying to put forth the best intellectual game possible. Eventually, anyone would forget what city they were in, or speak the name of a country incorrectly, but the gaffes, at times, are more memorable than the philosophies. Here is a compilation of ten, six from Republicans and four from our sitting President.
1. Michelle Bachmann, while speaking of the recent decision of the British to sever diplomatic ties with Iran, stated to an Iowa audience – “That’s exactly what I would do (if I were president). We wouldn’t have an embassy in Iran. I wouldn’t allow that to be there.”
In a statement released on December 3, Bachmann’s team stated she was speaking hypothetically, and supporting the British decision – the idea that she wouldn’t know that there was no U.S. Embassy in Tehran was ludicrous. So you get a free ticket on this one, Michelle. Instead we will quote one that you can’t explain away:
“Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley today.” – M.B., August 16, 2011, South Carolina. Yes, let’s do that, since that was the anniversary of his death. He was born on January 8, 1935. Not much way to spin that one, team.
2. Herman Cain, in an interview with PBS, said this of China:
“They’ve indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.”
For the record, Mr. Cain, while we don’t know exactly when China got the bomb, they tested their first in 1964, so they have had it for at least 47 years. They have moved on to trying to destroy us with lead-paint on children’s toys and artificially deflated currency.
3. Rick Perry, on November 29, while speaking to St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire, “Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12th, I ask for your support.”
Section 1 of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution reads, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” It was adopted in July 1971.
It is possible, perhaps, that by “support,” Perry referred to the practice of offering a toast.
4. The next quote, while perhaps a bit out of place since it occurred 20 years ago, is dumb enough that it’s still worth mentioning. In the October 1989 issue of Mother Jones Magazine, Newt Gingrich came up with the following epiphany:
“The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.”
Not sure what your definition of graft is, Newt. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect more from a guy named after a slimy amphibian known to carry Salmonella.
5. Mitt Romney has been criticized lately for his 1983 trip to Canada, in which he strapped his dog’s car carrier to the top of his station wagon. The guy went so far as to build a windshield for it, but unless this was a ski vacation in January, anyone who is critical of this has never owned a dog and a pickup truck at the same time. There’s a good chance that the dog enjoyed it.
His quote for this list involves a b–, I mean, a pooch of a different sort. “I’m happy to learn that after I speak you’re going to hear from Ann Coulter. That’s a good thing. I think it’s important to get the views of moderates.”
This would have been hilarious had he spun it as a joke. I’m pretty sure that Mussolini was more moderate.
6. In spite of Sarah Palin’s invention of the word “refudiate,” and all manner of verbal mismanagement, her crown jewel come from an interview on Glenn Beck’s radio show, Nov. 24, 2010, after being asked how she would handle the current hostilities between the two Koreas: “But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.”
Beck immediately assisted her with removing her foot from her mouth, and in all likelihood, she was just tired, don’cha know.
Sorry, Sarah, but Tina Fey does you better than YOU do you.
7. Tampa, FL, January 28, 2010. Sometimes a sound bite isn’t immediately funny, it simply inspires a state of total confusion for a few seconds. When our sitting President stated, “The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries,” that really made me think. 250 million short years ago, when all the continents were jammed into one big Pangaea, there was no Middle East. Perhaps we could vote to bring that back.
8. President Obama’s next moment comes from a speech on Memorial Day, on May 26, 2008, in Las Cruces, NM. In a moment of somber reflection on the sacrifices of our great nation:
“On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.”
You’re darn right it’s strong. It’s so strong, even the dead soldiers show up to hear your speech. Sorry, but Haley Joel Osment you are not.
9. “I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.” — at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon, during the 2008 elections. Okay, so this is a leftover, but it’s a classic. In print, it’s pretty ludicrous, but in several versions of the audio clip, everyone is laughing immediately, and it comes across as joke, with a delivery drier than Death Valley, California, which I am pretty sure is in the 55th state. Keep an eye out for the quarters, they are sure to be collector’s items.
10. The last one is neither amusing nor funny. At a press conference on June 7, 2011, President Obama said, “I’m not concerned about a double-dip recession.” In context, he wasn’t saying he didn’t care, only that he didn’t expect that it would happen. He went on to say that job recovery wasn’t happening as quickly as he wanted, which certainly seems like a sound statement. Given that most of the numbers he was using have previously been revised downward, he needs to be concerned. It reminds me of one of the smartest things ever said by a politician, credited to one of his predecessors, William J. Clinton – “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Full disclosure: It is unlikely that the author will ever personally benefit, financially or otherwise, from any statement ever made from any of the above candidates.