Funniest Political Bloopers In American History

Funniest Political Bloopers In American History

1 of 11

Anybody who is filmed 20 hours a day is going to bungle things up a time or two, so politicians are prime candidates for foot-in-mouth disease. Luckily, with cameras rolling, the entire public gets a front row seat to these blunders, and we remember that our elected officials are human after all. Whether it’s a poorly-timed remark, a display of true idiocy, or a hilarious moment of unintentional slapstick, we the people have the freedom to mock our politicians relentlessly…at least until the next blooper comes along. Here are some of the funniest political bloopers in American history.

Oops Guardian.co.uk

Rick Perry and the three agencies of government

It was the “oops” heard around the world when Rick Perry suffered a severe brain fart in the middle of a debate during the 2012 Republican primaries. When he was attempting to name the three agencies of government he would eliminate his first day in office, he came up with the departments of Commerce and Education, but froze on No. 3. Someone tried to help him out by (jokingly?) suggesting the Environmental Protection Agency, but there was no saving Perry on this one. Oops, indeed.

YEE HAW! Blog.GettyImages.com

Howard Dean and the scream

If you recall, Howard Dean was actually the favorite towards the beginning of the 2004 Democratic primary race, which was eventually won by John Kerry. This was in large part due to an inopportune “rallying” cry that Dean tried to get going after coming in third in the Iowa caucus. What was supposed to be an inspirational speech turned into a somewhat manic-looking rant, and Dean lost his credibility with voters, most likely for not being entirely sane.

"Wait, is this thing on?" Biography.com
“Wait, is this thing on?”

Reagan jokes about bombing the Soviet Union

In 1984, you weren’t really supposed to joke about bombing the Soviet Union. And you definitely weren’t supposed to joke about it if you were president and commander-in-chief of the United States. But then-President Ronald Reagan tried to get some laughs during a soundcheck for a weekly NPR broadcast by saying, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The soundbite wasn’t aired nationally, but was leaked afterwards, most likely by some radio technician who wasn’t Reagan’s biggest fan. The Soviet Union got word of the comment and had an alert up for 30 minutes, escalating an already touchy situation between the two countries.

I want you carnally...wait, what?? SpotlightMediaProductions.biz
I want you carnally…wait, what??

Jimmy Carter’s translator mishap

Though this one wasn’t actually poor Jimmy’s fault, he should have taken better care in choosing his translator for a trip to Poland in 1977. The translator, who admitted that he spoke “shaky” Polish at best, mistranslated the bulk of Carter’s speech. He said, “When I abandoned the United States,” rather than Carter’s actual line of “I left the United States this morning,” and inadvertently criticized the Polish constitution. But the best moment came when, instead of saying, “I have come to learn your opinions and understand your desires for the future,” he said, “I desire the Poles carnally.” He also threw in some Russian (remember, Poland was once occupied by the Soviet Union), just to make matters worse.

Well, this is awkward MajikThise.TypePad.com
Well, this is awkward

George W. Bush’s weird shoulder rub

George W. was infamous for his somewhat cheeky attitude towards other heads of state, but it was normally treated as an endearing personality trait. Unfortunately, Bush took it a step too far when meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2006 at a G8 Summit when he decided to give her a quick shoulder rub. She appears to be totally uncomfortable (grimacing and throwing her hands up is usually a clear sign), and many took it as an offensive gesture towards women, as he would probably not have done the same to a male counterpart. Either way, Bush learned to keep his hands to himself from then on.

Down he goes! News.Discovery.com
Down he goes!

Gerald Ford takes a tumble

One of Chevy Chase’s most memorable roles on Saturday Night Live was his portrayal of President Gerald Ford, who just couldn’t seem to stay on his feet. Though the former president wasn’t really perpetually falling down as much as Chase would like you to believe, on a trip to Austria in 1975, Ford went head over heels down the steps of Air Force One. The administration tried to blame it on a knee injury, but it was just too funny to care about the cause.

It's blurry, but you get the idea ABCNews.Go.com
It’s blurry, but you get the idea

George Bush Sr. vomits on the prime minister of Japan

It wasn’t as though it was on purpose, but George Bush, Sr. had a bit of a stomach bug when he visited Tokyo in 1992. While dining with the Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, the sickness took over and he helplessly threw up in his seat (OK, it wasn’t exactly on the PM, but it was close!), and passed out. They got him out of there quickly and he ended up being fine in a matter of hours, but you can bet he didn’t get an invite back to Miyazawa’s house any time soon.

Dan Quayle: Crushing kids' spelling dreams since 1992 CapitalCentury.com
Dan Quayle: Crushing kids’ spelling dreams since 1992

Dan Quayle ruins a boy’s spelling dreams

Dan Quayle, while serving as vice president for George Bush Sr.’s first term, was often mocked for his apparent lack of intelligence and general incompetence. So when he visited an elementary school in New Jersey in 1992 to judge a spelling bee, he made matters worse by correcting a 12-year-old who had correctly spelled “potato.” Quayle told the boy that he needed to add an “e” on the end, though he later claimed it was spelled wrong on the card he was given. To be fair, though, spelling is just small potatoes for the vice president of the United States. Chicka chicka!

The interview that made SNL history NewsBusters.org
The interview that made SNL history

Sarah Palin, just in general

Sarah Palin is perhaps best known by Tina Fey’s spot-on impression of her on Saturday Night Live, but she basically wrote the material herself. Several incidents gained national attention, such as her interview with Katie Couric, in which she claimed Alaska’s proximity to Russia as foreign affairs experience, and was unable to name a single newspaper that she read (“All of ’em, any of ’em that have been in front of me over all these years.”). Then there was a purely comical moment where she was filmed pardoning a turkey and taking questions from reporters, all while turkeys were be slaughtered behind her in the shot. But this is just the beginning, and luckily we may have many more years of Palin-isms to look forward to.

Zzzzzzzzzz.... MediaBistro.com

Everyone falling asleep, always

Being a politician is hard work, and the hectic schedules combined with frequent traveling and jet lag is enough to weigh on anyone. So it’s no surprise that politicians are often caught trying to get a little shut-eye at speeches and events. Joe Biden dozed off during a 2011 budget deficit speech by President Obama. Clinton caught some zs in the middle of a 2008 memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr., and John McCain nodded off during Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address. There are dozens more examples, and you can bet that cameramen are always on snooze-alert. Expect many more nap-filled festivities in the future.