On Slutbags: The 8 Most Embarrassing Off-the-Record and Hot-Mic Moments
Yesterday, Anthony Weiner’s chief spokesperson Barbara Morgan had herself a moment (in what has surely been a trying week for her) when she — in remarks she later explained she thought were off the record — called campaign intern Olivia Nuzzi a “slutbag.” But hey, politics is full of unintended slips of the tongue that were never meant for public consumption:
1.) Barack Obama: Jackass
“The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She’s getting her award. What’s he doing up there? He’s a jackass.”
When asked to respond to Kanye West’s infamous “I’m gonna let you finish” Taylor Swift fiasco, the President called West “a jackass.” This off-the-record moment was tweeted by an ABC news coorespondent in 2009. Then in 2012, the president went on the record calling West a jackass again. Preach.
2.) Jesse Jackson: Hymietown
“That’s all Hymie wants to talk about, is Israel; every time you go to Hymietown, that’s all they want to talk about.”
In the early ’80s, then-presidential candidate Jesse Jackson was highly criticized for using the Jewish derogatory term “Hymie” and for calling New York City “Hymietown.” He first denied using the slurs, but Jackson later confirmed that he made the remarks in what he considered an off-the record conversation. Some attribute this incident to his eventual downfall in the presidential race.
3.) Mitt Romney: 47%
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
This was 2012’s quote heard round the world. These hot-mic (not off-the-record per se, but Romney wasn’t aware he was being recorded) comments, which were leaked by a bartender at Romney’s private fundraiser, followed the presidential candidate throughout his campaign and were even named Quote of the Year by Yale Book of Quotations.
4.) Samantha Power: Monster
“She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything.”
Though Obama’s foreign policy advisor tried to immediately retract her comment about Hillary Clinton, the Scottish newspaper that she interviewed with felt that it was justified in publishing the quote. Powers then quickly resigned from Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
5.) Joe Biden: BFD
“This is a big fucking deal.”
Again, not technically off the record. Vice President Joe Biden was caught with his mic on… on live television… after speaking about a major piece of legislation… dropping the F-bomb. Not exactly graceful. While no one seemed overly offended by his excitement about the passage of health care reform, it is surely a memorable moment in American political gaffes.
6.) George W. Bush: Major League Asshole
“There’s Adam Clymer, major league asshole from The New York Times.”
To which Vice President Dick Cheney responded, “Yeah, big time.” The two were unaware that the microphone near them would catch these remarks about the political reporter from the New York Times during the 2000 presidential election.
7.) Arnold Schwarzenegger: Very Hot
“I mean Cuban, Puerto-Rican, they are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it.”
The California governor said this in a recorded speech-writing session in 2006. He went on to apologize for the comments, though the Latina assemblywoman that he was referring to, Bonnie Garcia, said she was not offended by them.
8.) Barack Obama: After My Election
“On all these issues, particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it is important for him [Putin] to give me space. … This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
The president made this comment in an off-the-record discussion with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It was caught by live microphones after their 2012 meeting in South Korea, and Obama’s critics were offended by his assurance of re-election and the general sentiment of the comment.