The 20 Worst Political Quotes Ever

Politics Lists Foot in Mouth
The 20 Worst Political Quotes Ever

Almost every politician has said something less than brilliant at some point in their careers; that’s just what life in front of cameras and journalists will do to you. The consequences tend to be short-lived. We talk about it for a day or two, and then we move on. However, on a rare splendid occasion, a politician will deliver a line so bad, so offensive, and so stupid, that it will follow them forever, like a jumbled word shadow.

We’ve compiled a list of 20 unbelievably ill-advised quotes from American politicians of all varieties your pleasure—and/or to feed your fear that these are the people making decisions that will affect our lives. We left Donald Trump out, but only because he has enough stupid quotes to fill all twenty spots and probably deserves his own post.

20: Rick Santorum

Quote: “Many of the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that’s okay. Contraception is okay.’ And it’s not. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Result of election: Lost

Good ole’ Ricky is kicking off the list with this classic “I don’t understand birth control” quote.

19: Rick Perry

Quote: [In regards to climate change] “The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy in jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet to me is nonsense. I mean, and I told somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said, ‘Here is the fact’…Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”

Result of election: Lost

A republican denying climate change was nothing knew in this presidential election cycle. What was new was Perry comparing himself to Galileo, who was persecuted for defending science.

18: Mike Huckabee

Quote: “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”

Result of election: Lost

Here, Huckabee does something truly amazing: He claims Democrats insult women, and then goes on to completely insult women. Why men have such a tough time understanding women’s reproductive systems is beyond us. It’s worth noting here that the government spent $84.24 million on drugs for erectile dysfunction in 2014. Also, who is “Uncle Sugar?”

17: Ted Cruz

Quote: [said to a little girl] Your world is on fire! (1:40 in the clip below)

Result of election: Lost

To be fair to Ted, his PR team didn’t explicitly tell him not to shout “your world is on fire” at a little girl, so he really can’t be blamed for this one.

16: George W. Bush

Quote: “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.”

Result of election: Won

This iconic line was on of the more confusing Bushisms and eventually ended up in a J. Cole song.

15: Newt Gingrich

Quote: “Most of these schools oughta get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work. They would have cash. They’d have pride in the schools. They begin the process of rising.”

Result of election: Lost

This is one of Gingrich’s proposals for underfunded schools in impoverished areas, which seems like some sort of current form of slavery. He means well, but this idea is so out-of-touch and tone deaf that it’s embarrassing.

14: Barack Obama

Quote: “I’ve now been in 57 states. I think one left to go.”

Result of election: Won

This one can be attributed to election cycle exhaustion. His math was a little off, but he still came out on top.

13: John Koster

Quote: “But on the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better?”

Result of election: Lost

Koster was running for Congress when he suggested that an abortion of a fetus that resulted from rape is “violence.” We love how he refers to it as “the rape thing.” It really puts into perspective just how uneducated he is about this issue since it doesn’t affect him in the slightest.

12: Carly Fiorina

Quote: “As regard to Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, to watch these tapes. Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’” (0:50 in the clip below)

Result of election: Lost

This was during one of the earlier primary debates in which Fiorina described something from a horror film. The description is totally inaccurate, but the audience responded with a wave of applause anyway. That doesn’t make it any less dumb.

11: Todd Akin

Quote: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Result of election: Lost

Fact check: it does not. As awful as this comment is, we almost feel a little bad for Akin’s pea brain for being so damn stupid.

10: Michele Bachmann

Quote: “The very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” (2:00 in the clip below)

Result of election: Lost

In this moment, Michele Bachman revealed her lack of understanding of the sequence of historical events, apparently unaware that the Founding Fathers actually owned slaves themselves.

9: Sarah Palin

Quote: “Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people on too many parts of our planet.”

Result of election: Lost

We’re not entirely sure what Palin was going for on this one, but it kind of sounds like she’s advocating for a mass extinction via nuclear bombing.

8: Richard Mourdock

Quote: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize, life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Result of election: Lost

Put “suggesting that rape is God’s will” down on the list of things not to do when running for office.

7: Ben Carson

Quote: [After the Umpqua Community College shooting] “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey guys! Everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”

Result of election: Lost

We can’t say for sure how to win an election, but it definitely doesn’t involve blaming the victims of a mass shooting for being shot at.

Bonus Ben Carson quote: “A lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight. And when they come out, they’re gay.”

6: Herman Cain

Quote: “A poet once said, ‘Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. But it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.’”

Result of election: Lost

Cain reiterated this uplifting line from an obscure Donna Summer song that was recorded for the 2000 Pokémon movie. While he was unaware the first time he recited it, he was eventually told of its origin and stood behind its meaning in his concession speech.

5: Karen Handel

Quote: “I do not support a livable wage.”

Result of election: Won

This Georgia special election was one for the books. It was the most expensive House election ever, and Karen Handel said this:

Bonus Karen Handel quote: “I have brought tremendous experience and have tremendous tentacles and commitment to this community.”

4: Jeb Bush

Quote: “Please clap.”

Result of election: Lost

Poor Jeb became the laughing stock of the election even though he was probably the most reasonable and qualified Republican on the ticket. When he resorted to begging his own supporters to applaud him, you can really see the defeat in his eyes.

3: Mitt Romney

Quote: “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.”

Result of election: Lost

This is a nice quote. The only problem is Mitt’s dad did not march with Martin Luther King. He actually said this multiple times before the lie caught up with him. To cover his tracks, Mitt explained that by “saw” he actually meant he “figuratively saw.” In 2012, America figuratively saw Mitt Romney win the presidential election.

2: Gary Johnson

Quote: [In response to a question about the high-profile destruction of Aleppo, Syria] “And what is Aleppo?”

Result of election: Lost

Gary, Gary, Gary… people were taking you kind of seriously until you said this.

1: John Edwards

Quote: [In regards to cheating on his wife] “First of all, it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer.” (6:05 in the clip below)

Result of election: Lost

Y I K E S. We’re not experts on the intricacies of infidelity, but your wife not having cancer at the exact moment you cheated on her doesn’t make you cheating on her any better. For this, Edwards earns the top spot in our list.

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