Everyone makes mistakes. But when you’re vying for the highest office in the land (or after you’re already in office) you should try that much harder not to look foolish. The following list captures some of the most embarrassing moments in the careers of presidents and would-be presidents alike.
Screw-ups befitting of the commander-in-chief. She deserved to lose after #10.
Sarah Palin’s Word Mush
Let’s start with a former vice-presidential hopeful. During her time campaigning Palin managed to make numerous verbal slip-ups, either misusing or making up words entirely. The one she may be most famous for is “refudiate,” seemingly using it in place of refute. She tried to explain it away as a typo (it first caught attention when she used it on Twitter), but footage of her saying the word previously was also found.
Rick Perry Doesn’t Understand Clocks
During his campaign for the 2016 nomination Rick Perry, when discussing his past political missteps, said “A broken clock is right once a day,” managing to screw up both a long-used logical fallacy and the cyclical nature of a twenty-four hour day.
Howard Dean, Super Excited
Despite how innocent it is, Howard Dean will never live down his impassioned “yeahhhhh!” after coming in third at the Iowa Caucuses in 2004. The apparent battle cry was fodder for comedians, talk shows, and political opponents for years after the loss.
President Bush’s infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech is a screw-up on two levels. First, it seemed to imply that the war in Iraq was over. Second, the speech had been edited previously to remove any language that suggested the war was definitively over yet the banner in the background negated this.
Presidents and Prisoners
As part of her 2016 campaign Hillary Clinton, when explaining how she’d help former criminals find employment, said she would make it so “former presidents won’t have to declare their criminal history.” She managed to write her own joke entirely on accident.