More Super Duper Political Bloopers

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“Some people make the same mistakes over and over again and get away with it,” Cerf says. “Other people make the same mistake once and they are branded fools for life.”

JFK: ‘I Am a Pastry’

When Kennedy made perhaps the greatest speech of his life — a dramatic address at the Berlin Wall while Cold War fears were running high — he committed one of the great political bloopers of all time. He meant to show America’s commitment to Eastern Europeans. He meant to say “Ich bin Berliner,” which means “I am a citizen of Berlin.”

Instead, he botched his German, saying “Ich bin ein Berliner,” which translates into the affirmation “I am a cream-filled pastry.”

Ronald Reagan had a pretty high blooper rate, but that never seemed to bother him or his approval ratings. Speaking to business leaders in the White House East Room in 1985, Reagan said, “Nuclear war would be the greatest tragedy, I think, ever experienced by mankind in the history of mankind.”

Addressing a Republican Convention, Reagan tried to quote John Adams, who said, “Facts are stubborn things.” Reagan said, “Facts are stupid things.”

And sometimes Reagan just got lost in his own words. At a news conference in October 1987, here’s how Reagan answered a question about whether taxes should be increased:

“The problem is the deficit is — or should I say — wait a minute, the spending, I should say, of gross national product, forgive me — the spending, I should say, of gross national product, forgive me — the spending is roughly 23 to 24 percent. So that it is in — it what is increasing while the revenues are staying proportionately the same and what would be the proper amount they should, that we should be taking from the private sector.”

Still, Reagan left office as one of the most popular presidents in modern history.