Stupid Presidential Quotes

Past Presidents—Trump Has Lists All to Himself

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush watch a baseball game

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Following the invention of the Internet (no, Al Gore didn't say he invented it, just supported initiatives in its creation during its infancy), it has been harder for presidents and vice presidents to get away from stupid things that come out of their mouth wrong. Here's a collection of notable, memorable, cringe-inducing gaffes and malapropisms from members of both parties.

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Barack Obama on Visiting 57 States

"I've now been in states? I think one left to go."

Barack Obama, at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon, May 9, 2008

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George W. Bush: Fool Me Once

"There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."

President George W. Bush, Sept. 17, 2002

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George H.W. Bush on Working With Reagan

"For seven and a half years I've worked alongside President Reagan. We've had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We've had some sex...uh...setbacks."

President George H.W. Bush, in 1988

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Dan Quayle on the Holocaust

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."

Dan Quayle

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George W. Bush on OB-GYNs

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

—President George W. Bush, Sept. 6, 2004

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George W. Bush on Education

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

—George W. Bush, Jan. 11, 2000

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Ronald Reagan on the Deficit

"I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself."

President Ronald Reagan

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Al Gore on the Internet

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." 

Vice President Al Gore, during the 2000 presidential campaign

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George W. Bush on Working Three Jobs

"You work three jobs?...Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that."

—President George W. Bush, to a divorced mother of three in Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

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Ronald Reagan on Latin America

"Well, I learned a lot...I went down to (Latin America) to find out from them and (learn) their views. You'd be surprised. They're all individual countries."

—President Ronald Reagan

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Dan Quayle on Losing One's Mind

"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

—Dan Quayle

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Joe Biden on Barack America

"A man I'm proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States—Barack America!"

—Joe Biden, at his first campaign rally with Barack Obama after being announced as his running mate, Springfield, Illinois, Aug. 23, 2008

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Joe Biden on Going to a 7-11

"You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent....I'm not joking."

—Joe Biden, in a private remark to an Indian-American man caught on C-SPAN, June 2006

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Bill Clinton on the Meaning of 'Is'

"It depends on what the meaning of the words 'is' is."

Bill Clinton, during his 1998 grand jury testimony on the Monica Lewinsky affair

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Ronald Reagan on Facts

"Facts are stupid things."

—Ronald Reagan, at the 1988 Republican National Convention, attempting to quote John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things"

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Joe Biden on Barack Obama

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

—Joe Biden, referring to Barack Obama at the beginning of the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Jan. 31, 2007

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Jimmy Carter on Lust

"I've looked on many women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me."

—President Jimmy Carter, in an interview with Playboy one month prior to the 1976 election

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Joe Biden's Intimate Relations

"Folks, I can tell you I've known eight presidents, three of them intimately."

—Joe Biden, Aug. 22, 2012

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George W. Bush on Being Underestimated

"They misunderestimated me."

—President George W. Bush, Nov. 6, 2000

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Dan Quayle on Judgment

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."

—Dan Quayle

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Richard Nixon on Being a Crook

"People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got."

Richard Nixon at a November 17, 1973 news conference

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George W. Bush on Harming America

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

—President George W. Bush, Aug. 5, 2004

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Dan Quayle on Astronauts

"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."

—Dan Quayle

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Bill Clinton on Smoking Marijuana

"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again."

—Bill Clinton

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Joe Biden on Dreaming of the Vice Presidency

"My mother believed and my father believed that if I wanted to be president of the United States, I could be, I could be vice president!"

—Joe Biden, campaigning in Youngstown, Ohio, May 16, 2012

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Dan Quayle: You Say Potato

"Add one little bit on the end...Think of 'potato', how's it spelled? You're right phonetically, but what else...? There ya' go...all right!" ​

—Dan Quayle, "correcting" a student's correct spelling of the word "potato" during a spelling bee at an elementary school (he told the student to add an "e" at the end)

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Richard Nixon on His Meds

"I was under medication when I made the decision to burn the tapes."

—Richard Nixon

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Dick Cheney Reaching Across the Aisle

"Go f**k yourself."

Vice President Dick Cheney to Sen. Patrick Leahy, during an angry exchange on the Senate floor about profiteering by Halliburton, June 22, 2004

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George H.W. Bush on Faith

"You cannot be president of the United States if you don't have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can't be. And we are blessed. So don't feel sorry for—don't cry for me, Argentina. Message: I care."

—President George H.W. Bush, speaking to employees of an insurance company during the 1992 New Hampshire primary

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Dan Quayle on Irreversible Trends

"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy—but that could change."

—Dan Quayle

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Dan Quayle on Bondage

"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."

—Dan Quayle

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Al Gore on Zebras

"A zebra does not change its spots."

—Al Gore

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Barack Obama on Star Wars and Stark Trek

"Even though most people agree...I'm presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don't take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right."

—President Obama, mixing up Star Wars and Star Trek references while discussing working with Republicans in Congress

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George W. Bush on Education

"As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured."

—President George W. Bush, on the No Child Left Behind Act, Sept. 26, 2007

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Richard Nixon on the Law

"When the President does it, that means it's not illegal."

—Richard Nixon, in a 1977 interview with David Frost

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Dan Quayle on California

"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."

—Dan Quayle

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Joe Biden on Obama's Big Stick

"I promise you, the president has a big stick. I promise you."

—Joe Biden, citing Theodore Roosevelt's famous quote, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far," April 26, 2012

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Joe Biden on Standing Up

"Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya." ​

—Joe Biden, to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008

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Dan Quayle on Being Prepared

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'"

—Dan Quayle

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Bill Clinton on a Hot Mummy

"If I were a single man, I might ask that mummy out. That's a good-looking mummy." ​

—Bill Clinton, on "Juanita," a newly discovered Incan mummy on display at the National Geographic Museum

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Joe Biden on Health Care Passage

"This is a big f**king deal!"

—Joe Biden, caught on an open mic congratulating President Barack Obama during the health care signing ceremony, Washington, D.C., March 23, 2010

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George W. Bush on the "Internets"

"I heard there's rumors on the internets that we're going to have a draft."

—President George W. Bush, during the second presidential debate, Oct. 2004

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Bill Clinton on Monica Lewinsky

"I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people."

—Bill Clinton, Jan. 26, 1998

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George W. Bush on History

"I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."

—President George W. Bush, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

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Dick Cheney on the Iraq War

"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

—Vice president Dick Cheney, June 20, 2005, on the Iraq insurgency, which lasted a couple more years 

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Dick Cheney on the Iraq War

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

—Vice President Dick Cheney, on invading Iraq, "Meet the Press," March 16, 2003