Steve Eighinger

Politicians can say the darndest things

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 6, 2018 10:45 am

Maybe it was the platform they possessed. Possibly their speech writers were not the most gifted.

Or maybe, they just weren't that smart.

Whatever the reason, the verbal gaffes often committed by politicians when in front of a camera or a crowd can often become legendary. Just ask Dan Quayle, Joe Biden or dozens of others.

With the fall election season nearing, today might be a good time for a hint of what is to come and what we should be listening for in the weeks leading up to early November.

Here are 10 of my favorite political faux pas, in countdown fashion:

10. "If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very low crime rate." -- Marion Barry, former mayor of Washington, D.C. (They're saying the same thing these days in Chicago.)

9. "If you're living in an area with a bad school, move to a place where there's a better school." -- Lamar Alexander, former secretary of education, when explaining his ideas on what parents of children who attend poorly funded urban or rural schools should do to solve the problem. (Yes, he was serious.)

8. "We are not without accomplishment. We have managed to distribute poverty equally." -- Nguyen Co Thatch, former Vietnamese foreign minister. (I'm pretty sure he was not making an attempt at humor.)

7. "It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago." -- Dan Quayle, former U.S. vice president. (I could have filled up all 10 spots with thoughts from Quayle, but I wanted to spread the wealth.)

6. "I do not like this word ‘bomb.' It is not a bomb. It is a device that is exploding." -- Jacques le Blanc, former French ambassador on nuclear weapons. (You say potato, I say po-tah-to.)

5. "It is white." -- former President George W. Bush, when asked by a student what the White house was like. (Well, he was correct.)

4. "China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese." -- Charles de Gaulle, former French president. (We can only hope that something was lost in the translation.)

3. "And now, will y'all stand and be recognized?" -- Gib Lewis, former Texas speaker of the house, to a group of people in wheelchairs on Disability Day. (I'm sure he meant well.)

2. "Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I'm still alive.' But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again." -- Barbara Boxer, former U.S. senator from California. (A female Dan Quayle?)

1. "Politics gives guys so much power that they tend to behave badly around women. And I hope I never get into that." -- Bill Clinton, former U.S. president. (And he said it with a straight face.)