The Gaffes Politicians Never Thought Would Go Public

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These days it seems no gaffe will stay hidden for long.

The recording of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) campaign manager that surfaced Thursday — you know, the “holding my nose” one — is just one among a collection of taped gaffes that have taken off in recent years.

From George Allen’s “macaca” incident to Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent comment, here’s a recap of some taped gaffes that the politicians themselves probably never thought would go public:Jesse Benton Holds His Nose

Most recent in the faux pas spotlight was Jesse Benton, Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager and former aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). In the phone call that surfaced Thursday, originally made and recorded on Jan. 9 by conservative activist Dennis Fusaro, Benton told Fusaro that he was only working in his current position to bolster Paul’s future political prospects.

“Between you and me, I’m sorta holding my nose for two years,” Benton said in the recording, “’cause what we’re doing here is gonna be a big benefit to Rand in ’16.”

The recording was first obtained by the blog Economic Policy Journal. Following the initial news, Fusaro told The Weekly Standard that he waited until now to release the recording because he wanted Benton to “do the right thing” with regard to a separate issue involving allegations that former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) had bribed an Iowa lawmaker during his run for president.

Operation: Attack Ashley Judd

The Benton slip wasn’t the first time taped gaffes have surfaced in the McConnell camp. During a February meeting between McConnell and his staff, an unidentified aide alluded to actress Ashley Judd’s history with depression. Judd had considered challenging McConnell for the Senate seat, and the aide speculated about how the information might play in the campaign.

“She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented,” the aide said. “Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies.”

The tape, obtained by Mother Jones’ David Corn, emerged a month after the Hollywood actress announced she would not challenge McConnell. A Kentucky political activist later identified himself as the source of the tape, saying he secretly recorded the conversation while standing in a hallway outside McConnell’s campaign office.

George Allen’s ‘Macaca’ Incident

During a campaign stop in Virginia during his 2006 Senate campaign for re-election, then-Sen. George Allen (R-VA) referred to a field operative hired by his democratic opponent, Jim Webb, as “macaca.”

“This [inaudible] here over here with the yellow shirt — Macaca or whatever his name is — he’s with my opponent,” Allen said of S.R. Sidarth, who was filming the event. “Welcome to America and the real world.”

The slur damaged Allen badly. He was defeated by Webb in the 2006 race, and later, by former governor Tim Kaine (D) in 2012.

Allen apologized for the slur five years later.

“During our last campaign, I never should have singled out that young man working for my opponent calling him a name,” Allen said. “I was wrong to do that to him, and it diverted our campaign away from the real issues that families care about.”

Mitt Romney’s 47 Percent Blunder

In describing his views of Obama voters at a private Florida fundraiser in 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney infamously told donors: “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

Romney went on to say that his job “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The tape, which also was first made public by Mother Jones, landed like a bomb in the campaign, and the remark helped President Obama roll on to re-election in November. It was only in March that the original source of the video was revealed. It turned out to have been recorded by a bartender at the fundraiser.

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