The Right Wing

Mitt's 41 Worst Gaffes of His Political Career

Your one-stop source for every inane, out-of-touch or outright offensive thing the GOP candidate has ever said.

Mitt Romney’s official coronation goes down this week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Can he get by without slipping up? Unlikely. From his energetic rendition of “Who Let the Dogs Out” to last week’s tasteless crack about birth certificates, Romney has had more gaffes over the years than your average politician. Sometimes they’re unintentionally revealing (“I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners”); other times they’re just plain weird (“Lemon. Wet. Good”). Introducing Salon’s running list of Romney-isms, from today all the way back to 1994.

41. “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” (Aug. 24, 2012)

40. “Join me in welcoming the next President of United States, Paul Ryan!” (Aug. 11, 2012)

39. “Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. One, I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.” — Speaking in Israel (July 29, 2012)

38. “Mr. Leader.” — Upon meeting Ed Miliband, leader of Britain’s Labour party, Romney appeared to forget his name. (July 26, 2012)

37. “It’s hard to know just how well [the 2012 London Olympics] will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.” — While visiting England (July 25, 2012)

36. “Lemon. Wet. Good.” — Describing his lemonade while attending a parade in Wofeboro, N.H. (July 4, 2012)

35. “I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.” — Earlier, Romney wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2008 titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in which he said if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” (May 8, 2012)

34. “I’m not sure about these cookies. They don’t look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7-Eleven, bakery, or whatever.” — A comment made about a batch of cookies, baked by a local bakery, while sitting around the picnic table at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. (April 17, 2012)

33. “We have a president who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.” — Romney spent one year more than Obama at Harvard while earning two degrees there. (April 5, 2012)

32. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks.” — To a group of NASCAR fans wearing plastic ponchos (Feb. 26, 2012)

31. “I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.” — When asked if he follows NASCAR (Feb. 26, 2012)

30. “This feels good, being back in Michigan. You know, the trees are the right height.” (Feb. 21, 2012)

29. ”I was a severely conservative Republican governor.” (Feb. 10, 2012)

28. [My wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs.” (Feb. 4, 2012)

27. “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there.” (Feb. 2, 2012)

26. “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.” (Jan. 21, 2012)

25. “I get speakers’ fees from time to time, but not very much.” In 2010 he earned about $370,000 in speaker’s fees over the course of the year, according to his personal financial disclosure. (Jan. 17, 2012)

24. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”  (Jan. 9, 2012)

23. “For me, politics is not a career.” (Jan. 8, 2012)

22. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.” (January 8, 2012)

21. “I’ll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?” — Attempting to make a wager with Rick Perry during a Republican presidential debate to settle a disagreement about health care (Dec. 10, 2011)

20. “I tasted a beer and tried a cigarette once, as a wayward teenager, and never did it again.” — In People magazine (Dec. 5, 2011)

19. “I’m Mitt Romney — and yes, Wolf, that’s also my first name.” Romney’s first name is actually Willard. (Nov. 22, 2011)

18. “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake. We can’t have illegals.” — When his track record for hiring illegal immigrants to landscape his home comes up during a debate (Oct. 18, 2011)

17. “It’s for the great middle class – the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country.” (September 21, 2011)

16. “Corporations are people … Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?” (Aug. 11, 2011)

15. “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.” (June 16, 2011)

14. “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.” — After working the room at a New Hampshire restaurant, to the establishments owner (June 14, 2011)

13. “Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?” (Jan. 21, 2008)

12. “Oh, you’ve got some bling-bling here.” — Admiring a child’s necklace during a meeting with black voters in Jacksonville, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2008)

11. “You sit down with your attorneys and tell you want you have to do, but obviously the president of the United States has to do what’s in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat.” — On whether, as President, he would get authorization from Congress before taking action against Iran (Oct. 9, 2007)

10. “PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics and was very, very upset about that. PETA was after me when I went quail hunting in Georgia. And they’re not happy that my dog likes fresh air.” — After the Boston Globe reported that Romney transported his dog, Seamus, in a carrier on the roof of his car during family vacations (June 2007)

9. “Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.” — At the South Carolina Republican debate (May 15, 2007)

8. “In France, for instance, I’m told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.” This policy does not exist, but seven-year marriage contracts are a plot point in the “Memories of Earth” science fiction series by Mormon author Orson Scott Card. (May 5, 2007)

7. “Liquefied coal, gosh. Hitler during the Second World War — I guess because he was concerned about losing his oil — liquefied coal. That technology is still there.” — During a Q&A session about energy policy. (April 19, 2007)

6. “The one by L. Ron Hubbard … I’m not in favor of his religion by any means, but he wrote a book called ‘Battlefield Earth’ that was a very fun science fiction book.” Romney names his favorite novel on Fox News (May 1, 2007)

5. “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” — On capturing Osama Bin Laden (April 26, 2007)

4. “I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will.” — After previously calling himself a “lifelong hunter” while on the 2008 campaign trail (April 5, 2007)

3. “Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase — ‘Patria o muerte, venceremos.’ It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.” It turns out the phrase does not belong to a free Cuba. It means “Fatherland or death, we shall overcome,” and it was a tag line for Fidel Castro. (March 9, 2007)

2. “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.” Romney’s campaign later admitted that they did not march on the same day or in the same city. (December, 2007)

1. “Hi, how are you? Don’t run away. I want to shake your hand. I know, you haven’t got your makeup on yet, right? You do, you do.” — On the campaign trail while running for the U.S. Senate, to a random woman outside a store (1994)

Jaime Cone is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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