Politicians say the darndest things. Sometimes it's a slip of tongue and sometimes they get tongue-tied. Sometimes they're not being quite honest with us, and sometimes they just don't know what the hell they're talking about.
But most of the time, we should give 'em a break. After all, when you're speaking in public day after day, mistakes are bound to occur. Here are a few of my favorite political quotes:
''I saw the young man over there with Eggs Benedict, with hollandaise sauce. And I was going to suggest to you that you serve your eggs with hollandaise sauce in hubcaps. Because there's no plates like chrome for the hollandaise.'' -- Mitt Romney, after working the room at a New Hampshire restaurant (June 2011).
"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died, an entire town destroyed." -- Barack Obama, on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people.
"People say, well, do you ever hear any other voices other than, like, a few people? Of course I do." -- George W. Bush, Dec. 18, 2008.
"I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base." -- Hillary Clinton on visiting Bosnia in 1996, contradicting other accounts that said there was no threat of gunfire. Clinton later said she "misspoke."
"On a couple of occasions in the last weeks, I just said some things that I knew not to be the case." -- Hillary Clinton, on misspeaking about her Bosnia visit.
''I'm not politically correct. I am not one to be a word police.'' -- Sarah Palin, Fox News interview with Chris Wallace Feb. 7, 2010.
"We're fixing to go down to Galveston and obviously are going to see a devastated part of this fantastic state." -- George W. Bush, Houston, Sept. 16, 2008.
"When I meet with world leaders, what's striking, whether it's in Europe or here in Asia, ..." -- Barack Obama, mistakenly referring to Hawaii as Asia while holding a press conference outside Honolulu, Nov. 16, 2011.
"Except for the occasional heart attack, I never felt better."-- Dick Cheney, June 4, 2003.
''I love this state. The trees are the right height.'' -- Mitt Romney, campaigning in Michigan (February 2012).
"We're the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad." -- Barack Obama, Cincinnati, Sept. 22, 2011.
''As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border.'' -- Sarah Palin, explaining why Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, Sept. 24, 2008.
But when compared to the words of a former Mississippi state representative, the others are a bunch of amateurs: "My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.
"If when you say whiskey you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yeah, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
"But if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman's step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
"This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise." -- Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat in June 1952.
Now that's a politician!
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.