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Home On the Trail 10 Huge Political Blunders

10 Huge Political Blunders

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Part of what makes election campaigns so fun to watch is that some of them are bound to give us great quotes and moments along with memes, and viral trends. This inevitability draws us to our televisions on debate night more so than the desire to be informed citizens.

Past campaigns have been full of spectacular blunders and irredeemable missteps. So grab some popcorn and take a walk down memory lane with these epic political errors.

Donald Trump's Views On Immigration 

Trump's well known for his harsh opinions on immigrants from Mexico, and his claims that "They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people," have drawn great controversy from the public. 

His campaign hasn't suffered much, but Teleservtv has reported the remarks drove the infamous Mexican drug lord El Chapo to issue a $100 million bounty on the candidates head. Although sources were not cited for El Chapo's threat, he's definitely not someone you would want to be on the wrong side of.

Marco Rubio's Water Break

When he was still being groomed as the young up-and-comer for the Republican party, Marco Rubio was given the opportunity to deliver the GOP response to President Obama's 2013 State of the Union address. The rest is viral YouTube history.

Instead of coming across as the confident future of the Republican Party, Rubio appeared nervous, wiping his mouth and smacking his dry lips as he stumbled over the words in his speech. The cringe-worthy moment came to a head when someone off screen handed the Senator a small bottle of water from which he quickly and clumsily took a sip. The move overshadowed the entire message of his speech, and since then we're sure he's taken time to get hydrated before hitting the stage. 

Rick Perry's "Oops"

The best political blunders happen in the most public ways. That's what made Rick Perry's "oops" moment during a 2012 presidential debate so unforgettable. America got to watch the Texas governor's presidential hopes go up in flames as he forgot the name of the third government agency he would eliminate if elected. 

The moment reached it's peak of humiliation when Perry's colleagues tried to help him out by shouting out the agencies he might be trying to think of. But it was too late. Perry's memory betrayed him and his chances flew out the window. He could only utter a word no American wants to hear their president say - "oops."

Air Force One Over New York

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When a jumbo jet accompanied by two F-16 fighters take a low flight over New York City, locals tend to take notice. One Monday morning in 2009, the crew of a backup plane for Air Force One decided swooping in would make for a great photo opportunity.

Instead, the incident caused panic, confusion, and distress all over Manhattan. The public was never notified about the flight plan and even Mayor Michael Bloomberg was caught off guard.

The flyover resulted in an investigation that found a general breakdown in communication was the cause for the panic. Eventually, Louis E. Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, took the brunt of the blame and issued a public apology. 

John McCain's Economic Opinion

Sometimes politicians find out that what was acceptable to say a year ago is no longer okay. When the economy imploded during the 2008 presidential election, the last thing Americans wanted to hear was a cheerleader for capitalism.

That's when John McCain made the fatal error of saying he believed "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." The statement fit the Democratic narrative that McCain was out of touch and the Obama administration was quick to capitalize on the gaffe. This blunder paired with choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate did him no favors.  

"Please Proceed Governor"

In between moments of informed arguments on important issues, presidential debates offer an opportunity for some quality entertainment. When the field of candidates gets shaved down to only two names, the stakes are higher and the blunders are much more fun to watch. 

During the 2012 election, Republicans hoped the Bengazi fiasco would dismantle Obama's hopes of winning a second term and Mitt Romney was tasked with using that weapon to win the debate. Unfortunately, Romney got his facts wrong and was invited to finish his incorrect point by Obama, who later proved the inaccuracy of Romney's statement to laughter and applause from the audience. 

George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" Banner

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The idea that combat operations in Iraq ended over a decade ago is laughable at this point and Americans will never forgot George W. Bush's Mission Accomplished banner speech back in 2003. The banner, matched with the speech's location on an aircraft carrier and the President's arrival on a fighter jet, seemed a tad overdone. 

The theatrical speech painted Bush in a bad light and worked to further drive a wedge between the President and people who originally supported the war. The move didn't cost the President a second term, but our memory of the blunder has definitely survived the test of time.  

Michael Dukakis' Tank Ride

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Image building is a large part of any political campaign. Politicians go to great lengths to prove they're the leader voters are looking for. When that image doesn't match with the candidate, however, it can cause big problems. 

Michael Dukakis learned this the hard way when his campaign decided it would be a good idea to show the nerdy politician driving a tank. The photo op proved to be a disastrous idea and Dukakis's image never fully recovered. 

"BYAA!!" a la Howard Dean

Coming in as the loudest political blunder on this list, Howard Dean's infamous "byaa!" speech lives on as one of the worst mistakes a presidential candidate has made. The bizarre campaign speech ended Dean's presidential hopes and provided comedians with political humor for weeks. 

The scream heard around the world is all the more heartbreaking when you realize it came from a place of enthusiasm about his own campaign. We've all gotten a little excited from time to time, but Dean's outburst was a little too much for voters to handle. 

The Bentson Burn

Arguably the harshest diss to come out of a televised debate was when Senator LLoyd Bentsen turned Dan Quayle's own words against him. Quayle had likened himself and his governing style to John F. Kennedy when Bentsen went for the jugular. 

Bentsen declared that he knew JFK well and told Quayle he was "no Jack Kennedy." The statement was greeted with applause from the crowd and made Quayle look downright childish. Bush and Quayle would go on to win the election, but that jab will live on in political infamy.