Political gaffes

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Despite the sometimes controversial nature of their agendas, politicians work very hard for citizens of their countries, and are prone to make minor mistakes in speeches out of fatigue. Even when gaffes form a pattern, unless they fairly imply a deeper intellectual problem, it's hard to infer bad faith against public servants.

President Ford on Poland

  • I don't believe, - Mr. Frankel that - the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of those countries is independent, autonomous: it has its own territorial integrity and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union. As a matter of fact, I visited Poland, Yugoslavia and Rumania to make certain that the people of those countries understood that the president of the United States and the people of the United are dedicated to their independence, their autonomy and their freedom.[1]

He was presumably making a statement about what should be, rather than what really was — but the effect was to make him look out of touch with reality.[1]

Vice President Mondale on the arms race

  • MONDALE: I believe in a sensible arms control approach that brings down these weapons to manageable levels. I would like to see their elimination. And in the meantime, we have to be strong enough to make certain that the Soviet Union never attempts this. 1984 debate with Reagan

John Kerry on Iraq

Speaking to a gathering of firefighters in West Virginia, Democratic candidate John F. Kerry tried to reassure the audience that his position on Iraq war funding was quite nuanced — and served up one of the most devastating sound bites in modern campaign history: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”[1]

Barack Obama

Barack Obama has been known to make some mistakes, from referring to "the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor", describing America's "fifty-seven states", and "his Muslim faith." The latter was instantly corrected by the sympathetic interviewer.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "50 greatest political moments: Famous gaffes"

See also