9 Top Political Gaffes of 2014

PHOTO:Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum at the University of Connecticut, April 23, 2014, in Storrs, Conn.
Jessica Hill/AP Photo

In Washington, even the smallest faux pas can hurtle a politician from respected to ridiculed as fast as you can say partisanship.

And there was no shortage of cringe-worthy political screw-ups this year. From Hillary Clinton’s “dead broke” gaffe to John Boehner’s “blank agenda,” here are nine of the top political missteps of 2014:

VIDEO: The former Secretary of State discusses the Benghazi attack and more in an exclusive interview.
Hillary Clinton: ‘Dead Broke’

Hint: When you’re a bajillionaire, people tend to bristle when you complain about being poor.

Former first lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who routinely rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech – said in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that she and President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House.

"We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy," Clinton told Sawyer in June.

Critics cried foul, calling the potential presidential candidate rusty and out of touch with real Americans.

Clinton later clarified that they were “not truly well-off” and admitted that her characterization of the first family’s financial situation was not particularly “artful.”

Congressman Michael Grimm Threatens TV News Reporter
Michael Grimm: Balcony Blunder

If you’re going to threaten a reporter for asking a question, better do it off-camera.

Rep. Michael Grimm, faced with a question about his alleged tax fraud, threatened to toss a reporter off a balcony after Obama’s State of the Union address in January.

“Do that to me again, I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony,” he snarled to NY1 reporter Michael Scotto. “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”

At first, the congressman refused to beg pardon, instead slamming the reporter’s “disrespectful and cheap shots.” But later, he apologized, saying, “Bottom line, I was wrong. It never should have happened … I’m sure my Italian mother is going to be yelling at me, saying ‘you weren’t raised that way,’ and she’s right.”

Grimm pleaded guilty to a felony tax charge earlier this month.

PHOTO: MIT professor of economics, Jonathan Gruber, at his home, June 29, 2012.
Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Jonathan Gruber: Caught on Camera

Needless to say, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber regrets his comment that the “stupidity of the American voter” was “critical” in the Affordable Care Act’s passage.

In a series of videos unearthed this November, the economics professor-turned-Obamacare-adviser called the president’s signature initiative “a very clever… basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

He also claimed that American voters are too stupid to understand the difference” between different kinds of taxes and said that the “lack of transparency” in the law was a “huge political advantage.”

At a Congressional hearing in December, Gruber apologized for his “glib, thoughtless and sometimes downright insulting comments.”

PHOTO: Sasha and Malia Obama listen to their father, President Barack Obama, speak before pardoning two turkeys during a ceremony at the White House on Nov. 26, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Elizabeth Lauten: Social Media #Fail

As one Capitol Hill aide learned this year, attacking the first daughters is strictly taboo.

The communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., publicly scolded Malia, 13, and Sasha, 16, for their dress and demeanor at the White House Turkey Pardoning.

“Try showing a little class,” Elizabeth Lauten wrote on Facebook. “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at the bar.”

A teary-eyed Lauten apologized and resigned the following week.

PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) Ky., right, and Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes debated key topics in Lexington, Ky., Oct. 13, 2014.
Pablo Alcala/The Lexington Herald-Leader/AP Photo
Alison Grimes: Secret Ballot

Obama wasn’t particularly popular this election season. So as Republicans attempted to pin their opponents the president, Democrats did all they could to distance themselves from the commander-in-chief.

None more so perhaps, than Sen. Mitch McConnell’s challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The Kentucky Democrat refused to say whether she’d voted for the president in 2012 – not once, but multiple times.

“Our constitution grants us here in Kentucky the constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box, for a secret ballot,” she said during a debate in October. “I am not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or other side or for members of the media.”

Grimes went on to lose the election by 15 points.

VIDEO: Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton Flub Iowa Senate Candidates Name
Bruce Bailey Supporters: Bruce Who?

Poor Bruce Braley. No one seemed able to get his name right on the campaign trail this year.

While stumping for Braley, a Democrat vying for Iowa’s open Senate seat, first lady Michelle Obama mistakenly called the candidate Bruce Bailey at least seven times – and even referred supporters to Vote.BruceBailey.com. (Hours later, Braley’s Republican opponent, now-Sen. Joni Ernst, snapped up a similar domain, votebrucebailey.com, which redirected to her campaign site.)

Former President Bill Clinton also accidentally referred to Braley as Bruce Bailey at Sen. Tom Harkin’s steak fry event in Iowa. And Republican Mitt Romney, stumping for Ernst, got Bruce’s last name right, but goofed on his first name, calling him Bill.

VIDEO: Instant Index: Springsteen Turns 65
President Obama: Latte Salute

The commander-in-chief saluted two Marines with a coffee cup in his hand. The White House inexplicably posted a video on Instagram. People weren’t happy.

VIDEO: Sarah Palin Says White House Located at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue
Sarah Palin: Wrong Address

In an impassioned speech at the Value Voters Summit in September, former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin took aim at the president.

“Don’t retreat. You reload with truth, which I know is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, anyway truth,” Palin said. “The media’s favorite president. He just can’t stop telling lies.”

One little problem: The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

PHOTO: House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gives a wink to a reporter as he answers questions with GOP leaders at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 15, 2014.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo
John Boehner: ‘Blank Agenda’

In October, House Speaker John Boehner tweeted outlined “5 Points for Resetting America’s Economic Foundation.”

Trouble is, Boehner left the five points blank, setting himself up for a medley of mocking tweets from Democratic lawmakers – including a several suggestions “for your blank agenda” from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...