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Political Column: Political Blunders

Daniel Caccavale

As the race towards the 2012 Presidential election continues, the Republican Party is getting closer to choosing its candidate.  Last Thursday, a debate was held, where the Republican candidates tried to prove to the world why they deserve the spot as the Republican contender against President Obama. However, for some, things did not go as planned. Governor of Texas and Republican nominee hopeful, Rick Perry, had a major blunder on stage when he actually forgot the name of one of the government agencies he would want to cut if he became President. As quoted from ABC News “It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone – Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. Oh, five – Commerce, Education and the um, um.” Not a very good sign for the Governor Perry at all, especially when his competitor, Mitt Romney, stepped in and said Perry was thinking of the Environmental Protection Agency. Perry, of course, agreed, and when asked if he was sure about that answer, he quickly retracted it only to say, “The third agency of government I would do away with – the education, the uh, the commerce, and let’s see. I can’t the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” Turns out that after the debate, Perry remembered the agency to be the Department of Energy as the third one he would want to cut.

Ok, he messed up. But, he is not the only one to have done it. In fact, many politicians have slipped up over the years. For example, let’s jump back in time to the last presidential election, shall we? Everyone knows who Sarah Palin is by now, right? But, how many people remember her little bit on Russia? During the presidential campaign in 2008, she actually claimed that she could see Russia from the backyard of her Alaska home. Now, ok, sure, the two landmasses are close to each other, but not quite that close. Instead of retracting the statement, Palin stuck with it and defended herself and the statement until the very end.

Anyone remember who invented the Internet? Well, during the 1999 Democratic primaries, Al Gore claimed that he was the creator. The Internet was created by contributions made by several different people, but Al Gore wasn’t one of them. In all fairness, he did bring something to the table. While he was a Congressman many years earlier, he was part of an initiative that pushed for more commercialized Internet, but he did not create the Internet. This did not necessarily lose the 2000 presidential election for Al Gore. He did lose to George W. Bush, who was not without blunder himself.

Well, I’m sure we all remember the obvious one. Former President Bush could never seem to master the world ‘nuclear’. But, Bush made several mistakes in wording over his eight years in the Oval Office. In fact, he made enough of them for people to start calling them “Bushisms,” and Slate Magazine even created a full list of mis-wordings President Bush made while he was in office. Then, there was his reason for the invasion of Iraq: weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Bush claimed, and stuck to it for a lot of the war, that his administration could prove the existence of WMDS in Iraq. Well, we got to Iraq, of course, and as the war went on, not a single WMD was found the entire time. Not only did his entire administration mess up a huge accusation, but Bush also made it worse by joking about it. The BBC covered a slide show Bush did in 2004 when he used political cartoons to make fun of his mistake… not really funny when you were wrong about something that cost people their lives.

Then, there is Dan Quayle, the Vice President of George H.W. Bush, who once said, “I love California; I practically grew up in Phoenix.” This is just completely wrong since Phoenix is in Arizona and not California. Of course, these are just a few over our lifetime; we can go back farther to the Watergate lies or to just about any point in history and find a president who said something wrong or funny as a big ‘oops’ moment.

So, to Governor Rick Perry: Trust in the fact that you are not alone in your mistake. Just don’t do it again.

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