Erupting Emotions: The Top 6 Political Outbursts

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum confronts New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, March 25, 2012, in Franksville, Wisc.
Chris Fitzgerald/Candidate Photos/Newscom

As the pressures of constant campaigning and the ever-present, ever-questioning press begin to wear on candidates, politicians have occasionally slipped across the fine line between fired up and over the top.

From Rick Santorum calling "bulls**t" on a New York Times reporter Sunday to Howard Dean's overly excited rally cry during his 2004 Democratic primary campaign, politicians and public officials have a history of breaking the boundaries of political decorum.

Here's a look at some of the most memorable emotional outbursts from American politicians.

VIDEO: Rick Santorum accuses NY Times' Jeff Zeleny of distorting the truth.
"That's Bulls**t!"

Tempers flared along the rope line after a Santorum rally in Franksville, Wisc., Sunday when a reporter asked the GOP candidate to respond to his earlier comments that rival Mitt Romney was the "worst Republican" to run against President Obama.

"Quit distorting my words," Santorum shot back at the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny. "It's bulls**t. Cone on, man. What are you doing?"

The Santorum campaign later sent out a fundraising email casting Santorum's angry outburst as a rebuttal to the "liberal press."

"I didn't back down, and I didn't let him bully me," Santorum writes in the email asking supporters to donate to his campaign.

VIDEO: President Bush makes an offhand remark about N.Y. Times reporter Adam Clymer.
ABC News
"Major League A**hole"

Santorum isn't the first presidential candidate who had a beef with the New York Times. Former President George W. Bush was caught criticizing a different Times reporter while campaigning for the presidency in 2000.

"There's Adam Clymer — major league a**hole — from the New York Times," Bush said to then-running mate Dick Cheney as they waved to supporters at an Illinois rally.

"Yeah, big time," Cheney responded.

The pair was apparently unaware that the microphone on the podium in front of them was turned on. The exchange was likely not heard by the crowd, but media crews plugged into the event's sound system did not miss the muffled comment.

VIDEO: N.J. governor gets angry while being interrupted during town hall meeting.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, never one to temper his temper, directed his sharp tongue at a Rutgers University law student during a town hall earlier this month, calling the persistent student an "idiot."

After William Brown, a second-year law student, asked Christie about the planned merger between Rutgers and Rowan universities – which Christie supports – the two got into a rather heated verbal exchange. Brown was eventually kicked out of the town hall.

"Let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a court room, your rear end is going to be thrown in jail, idiot," Christie said as Brown was escorted out of the venue.

After Brown left the building Christie continued, "I tried to be patient with the guy. Every time I tried to answer he started yelling over me again. I think, 'Damn man, I'm governor, can you just shut up for a second?'"

VIDEO: Dan Harris looks into the reasons behind outbursts by Kanye West and Joe Wilson.
ABC News
"You Lie!"

One of the most memorable moments of President Obama's 2009 State of the Union address came not from the podium but from the audience.

After Obama said his health care plan would not provide insurance for undocumented immigrants, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted "You lie!" a comment that reverberated through the chamber, drawing a pause from the president, a frown from Vice President Biden and a scowl from then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Wilson apologized immediately following the speech and continually over the next week.

The House later voted to reprimand Wilson for his "breach of decorum," making Wilson the first representative in 20 years to be officially scolded by his House colleagues.

VIDEO: Justice Alito shakes his head when Obama hits campaign finance decision.
ABC News
"Not True"

The year after Wilson interrupted Obama's State of the Union with his resounding "You lie," the president drew another mid-speech mark of disapproval, although this time around the ire was silent.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was caught on camera mouthing the words "Not true" and shaking his head in disapproval after the president scolded the Supreme Court over their ruling in the Citizens United case.

"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said during the 2010 State of the Union.

Alito's reaction was particularly rare because while it is a tradition for Supreme Court justices to attend the State of the Union, they do not clap or show support or disagreement during the president's speech so as not to appear anything but neutral on policies that may come up before the court.

Alito did not attend Obama's State of the Union the next year.

VIDEO: 2004: Following the Iowa caucuses, Howard Dean delivers an animated speech.
ABC News

Howard Dean's failed bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination may not be remembered for its policies or campaign strategy, but thanks to a slew of viral internet videos, the candidate's overly excited scream during his Iowa concession speech will never be forgotten.

After placing third in the first-in-the-nation caucus, Dean riled up supporters with a fiery speech and left the crowd with what would soon be dubbed the "Dean scream."

"Not only are we going to New Hampshire… we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico and California and Texas and New York and South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House!" Dean said before punching the air and shouting something to the effect of "Yeeeeawww!"

Late night comics pounced on the sound bite, YouTubers spliced it into viral video mash-ups and bloggers dubbed it the "I have a scream" speech.

Dean dropped out of the presidential race less than a month later.

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