Political gaffes are an occupational hazard – and this year, the presidential candidates, as well as a few others, didn’t let us down. Here are the best gaffes, goofs, screw-ups, bobbles and flubs from 2015:
Jeb Bush probably regrets not buying the domain name jebbush.com. It recently became known that the URL redirects visitors to the campaign site for Bush’s nemesis, Donald Trump. D’oh! Bush’s actual website is jeb2016.com. Read more here.
Fiorina fails to secure domain name
Jeb isn’t the only one who needs to raise their domain-name game. When Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for president, she launched carlyforpresident.com as her campaign website. But the domain carlyfiorina.org, which the candidate did not register, was used to show a negative message about the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. “Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I’m using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard,” the message read. “That’s 30,000 people she laid off. People with families.” Read more here.
Carson: Few have foreign policy chops, except ‘maybe Hillary’
After making a number of foreign policy mistakes – including mixing up the members of NATO, wrongly saying China was militarily involved in Syria and mispronouncing Hamas – Ben Carson tried to defend his lack of knowledge by saying Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, was the only candidate with experience in foreign policy. In doing so, Carson ignored Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, all of whom have at least some foreign policy experience, and gave Team Hillary a free sound bite. Read more here.
Where did Carly meet Putin?
After Donald Trump said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin were “stablemates” because they appeared on the same episode of “60 Minutes,” Carly Fiorina attempted to mock him by saying she met the Russian leader “not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting.” But it was soon pointed out that a few months earlier, Fiorina had offered a bit more detail about the circumstances of her meeting with the Russian leader. It was in “a green room setting,” she said, before they each gave speeches at an event in Beijing. Read more here.
Trump campaign tweets image featuring Nazi uniforms
Donald Trump tweeted a promotional photo shortly after his campaign announcement that appeared to have a photo of Nazi soldiers on the American flag. Again, a campaign intern was blamed for the mistake. Read more here.
Trump blames intern for retweet dissing Iowa voters
Another Trump campaign tweet miscue blamed on an intern: “#BenCarson is now leading in the #polls in #Iowa… Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain? #Trump #GOP” the tweet read, seeming to insult Iowans’ intelligence. Trump later tweeted: “The young intern who accidentally did a Retweet apologizes.” Read more here.
Carson says gun control helped enable the Holocaust
“The likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson said – just the latest time he’s made this link. It’s a common talking point in some parts of the pro-gun right. Historians, however, have said that it’s completely inaccurate. Read more here.
Fiorina claims 92% of job losses in President Obama’s first term belonged to women
In the fourth GOP debate, Carly Fiorina claimed that 92% of the jobs losses during President Barack Obama’s first term affected women. It’s the same claim Mitt Romney made on the campaign trail in 2012. Both times, analysts have said the figure is misleading. In fact, the number of women employed between January 2009 and January 2013 has increased. Read more here.
Clinton calls Republicans her enemies
Asked during the first Democratic debate about who her enemies were, Hillary Clinton mentioned Republicans – a response that to some made her look partisan and mean-spirited. She was immediately criticized by a slew of GOPers, and more subtly by her Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, as well as Vice President Joe Biden. “I would not use the word ‘enemies’ to describe fellow Americans,” Sanders said. Read more here.
Bush: Supergirl looks ‘pretty hot’
One of the most awkward moments of Jeb Bush’s campaign came during a LIBRE forum in October when the former Florida governor commented on the appearance of the new Marvel Supergirl. “When I was working out this morning, there’s an ad promoting Supergirl. She looked kind of – she looked pretty hot,” he said. Watch here.
Huckabee, Santorum say Dred Scott decision is the law of the land
Following the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both used the Dred Scott decision, which denied African-Americans protection under the Constitution, as evidence that it’s sometimes justifiable not to follow the law of the land. Both failed to recognize that the decision was overturned by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Read more here.
Clinton uses 9/11 as defense for Wall Street money
During the second democratic debate, Hillary Clinton invoked 9/11 to explain campaign contributions from Wall Street. “I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is,” she said. “I did spend a whole lot of time and effort to rebuild.” She was heavily criticized afterward from across the political spectrum for seeming to exploit the attacks for political advantage. Read more here.
McCarthy credits Benghazi committee for Clinton damage
House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy may have accidentally admitted that the the intent of the Benghazi special committee, tasked with investigating the attack in Libya in 2012, was really to bring down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?,” he said. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would’ve known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.” The gaffe helped scupper McCarthy’s bid to be Speaker of the House, and gave a massive boost to Democrat’s efforts to paint the Benghazi probe as a partisan witch-hunt. Read more here.
Congressman uses misleading graph to smear Planned Parenthood
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz thought he had the perfect data to put Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in a bind during her testimony before Congress in September. But when he displayed a chart that he said showed the number of Planned Parenthood abortions increasing at the same rate that its cancer screening and prevention services were decreasing, Richards pointed out that the chart was created by Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group. As numerous reports pointed out, the “graph” had no y-axis, and did not represent the data accurately. Read more here.
GOP governor flubs civics 101 test
In response to a court ruling that she disagreed with, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin reminded everyone there are three branches of government: “You have the Supreme Court, the legislative branch and the people,” Fallin said, leaving out the executive branch. Read more here.
Walker flubs math
“It’s hard to believe that it has been 505 years since the first settlers arrived at Jamestown,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign tweeted, under a graphic that dated the event to 1607. Really hard to believe – since it had actually been 408 years. Read more here.