Top 10 Candidate Gaffes of 2010

In honor of Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP, the smart analysts at MSNBC”s “First Read” have put out a list of the top 10 candidate gaffes of 2010. Though the elections are still months away, the list is full of doozies. One can only imagine what will be added in the weeks to come. And the winners are….

1. Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman”: This gaffe took place across the Atlantic Ocean, but it impacted Britain’s election this year and ensured that Gordon Brown and the Labour Party would be voted out of power.

2. Martha Coakley’s Schilling-is-a-Yankee fan: This statement in a radio interview showed that she was out of touch with Massachusetts voters. No Boston Red Sox fan would mistakenly say that Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan. This gaffe turned out to be the final nail in Coakley’s coffin.

3. Sue Lowden and Barter-gate/Chicken-gate: This gaffe by Lowden — touting that bartering for health care, like paying doctors with chickens, could benefit the health system — contributed to her June 8 defeat in the Nevada Senate GOP primary, a contest in which she was once the front-runner. It also inspired videos like the one linked here.

4. Vaughn Ward’s Puerto Rico is a country: Ward once was a front-runner, too — in an Idaho GOP congressional primary. But after a few gaffes — like calling Puerto Rico a country when it’s a territory — he ended up losing this primary.

5. Arlen Specter and the College Republicans: Specter mistakenly saying that he was endorsed by the College Republicans, instead of the College Democrats, highlighted his biggest weakness in the Democratic Senate primary he lost: He was a long-time Republican before switching parties.

6. Carly Fiorina’s hairy situation: California’s GOP Senate nominee became the latest victim of the open mic, when she was caught dissing the hairstyle of fall opponent, Barbara Boxer. (“God, what is that hair? Soooo yesterday.”)

7. J.D. Hayworth’s ‘history’ lesson: At a town hall, Hayworth served up this whopper: “As I recall, in MY history, Germany declared war on the United States not vice versa.” In fact, as was pointed out to him by a questioner (who Hayworth didn’t believe), the U.S. DID declare war on Germany on April 4, 1917. and

8. Jim Gibbons — the mistress and the airplane: ‘What’s it to you? … You’re full of s—‘: It was painful to watch as Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons tried to deny, deny, deny that there was a woman with him on a plane back from DC that was actually his mistress. Gibbons apologized but lost his reelection bid badly in the primary. In fairness, though this gaffe was hardly the only thing that did him in.

9. Jerry Brown and Nazi propaganda: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, the first to bring up Nazis in politics, loses the argument. In a conversation with a reporter while out for a morning jog, longtime pol Jerry Brown, running as the Democratic nominee for governor in California, likened his fall opponent Meg Whitman and her big spending habits to Nazi propagandists.

10. Bob Etheridge gets too close for comfort: It’s never a good idea to grab, slap, pull, manhandle, or “hug, as in wrestling,” another person — no matter how annoying they are — and especially if it’s on camera (!!!). This might not have any effect on his re-election bid, but it provided a lesson politicians should already know: When the camera is on, it can be uploaded and sent around the world in minutes. and


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