Opinion: Top 10 weirdest moments of the 2010 campaign
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These last weeks of politics have been wild, funny and some of the finest in recent history. Almost all of the madness was caught on video. Let’s look back and enjoy some of the weirdest moments in the political races around the country.
10. ‘Don’t hit me, man’ -- Ryan Frazier
Incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter slapped the hand of GOP opponent Ryan Frazier during a testy moment over healthcare. The two are running for the chance to represent Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, which includes some of Denver. The slap would never invoke anyone saying ‘Down goes Frazier,’ but as heated and weird as this election season has been, this is the only example of anything slightly physical taking place.
9. ‘I’m not a witch’ -- Christine O’Donnell
While appearing on Bill Maher’s ‘Politically Incorrect’ in 1999, how could the Delaware....
....Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate think that her admission of dabbling in witchcraft would come back to haunt her? ‘Tea party’ darling Christine O’Donnell’s self-made 30-second ad, however, was so fascinating in its directness that it was spoofed by strangers on YouTube and celebs on shows like ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Even Wolf Blitzer asked her ‘what were you thinking’? The result was video gold.
8. Meg Whitman is called a ‘whore’ -- Tom Brokaw / Jerry Brown / Meg Whitman
Clarification, 9:20 p.m.: This post is wrong in saying Brown ‘felt compelled to compare the slur to the N-word.’ It was Brokaw who suggested that some people had compared ‘whore’ to a racial slur.
It was bad enough that someone from Jerry Brown’s campaign called the former EBay chief executive the W-word. And it was pretty embarrassing that in this day and age of modern technology someone in California has a hard time hanging up a telephone. But the current attorney general and lifelong politician must have known that the question about the utterance was going to make it on the pair’s first televised debate. Yet when Tom Brokaw asked it, Brown, for some reason, felt compelled to compare the slur to the N-word instead of simply apologizing and moving on. He even added that the recording might not be legal. That politically incorrect faux pas allowed Whitman to become more of a victim and lessened the affect Brown could have had when he brought up former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson’s use of the word years ago.
7. Republican congressional nominee from Ohio dons a Nazi SS outfit -- Rich Iott
When it was discovered that GOP congressional nominee Rich Iott had participated in World War II recreations dressed in a Nazi uniform, he did the only correct thing: he blamed his kid. ‘When my son was old enough to participate, it became a hobby that the two of us could do together, and I’m grateful for the father-son bonding we shared as we participate in the events.’ Well that’s sorta family values. He also said he dressed that way to educate the public.
Turned out his son didn’t like playing this type of dress-up and bailed out of the bonding, and that’s when the older Iott’s participation also ended. Unfortunately he dug himself a deeper hole when he seemed to defend the actions of the SS on national TV with Anderson Cooper. ‘I don’t know that I would put that label on them,’ Iott said. ‘They were doing what they thought was right for their country. And they were going out and fighting what they thought was a bigger, you know, a bigger evil.’
6. ‘I did not march in the gay pride parade this year, my opponent did’ -- Carl Paladino
Carl Paladino, who had said many controversial things in his surprisingly successful run for governor, stood in front of a group of Orthodox Jewish men and read a statement that many considered homophobic. It went over so badly that his gay nephew stopped working on his campaign. And when it was discovered that he was the landlord of a gay club, he was deemed a hypocrite. Soon after he said on CBS that he didn’t mean to come off as homophobic, that he was just reading from a script. Did it include notes to sneer?
5. Can’t think of a Supreme Court decision you object to? -- Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons
We know she’s not a witch, but after her debate we weren’t sure how much she follows the Supreme Court. It didn’t seem like a gotcha question, especially since Sarah Palin stumbled on the exact same question two years ago, but when asked if she objected to any recent Supreme Court decision, she said she knew she did but couldn’t think of any off the top of her head. ‘I’ll put it up on my website, I promise you,’ she said.
Chris Coons has been a lawyer for 16 years. His answer was better, but not by much. He mentioned a decision that had just been discussed in the debate.
4. ‘Why did he freely join a group known for mocking, for making fun of people with faith? And secondly, when is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, that you call Aqua Buddha?’ -- Jack Conway to Rand Paul
Talking Points Memo called it the nastiest debate of 2010. Republican Senate hopeful Rand Paul was accused by Jack Conway of not being a Christian and kidnapping a young lady back in college and making her pray to the ‘Aqua Buddha.’ Paul blasted back in his own way and announced that he wasn’t going to shake Conway’s hand at the conclusion of the debate, and good to his word, did just that.
3. ‘Man up, Harry Reid’ -- Sharron Angle
Everyone underestimated this ‘tea party’ favorite who had somehow made a race out of the Nevada Senate seat currently held by the majority leader. But when Republican Sharron Angle told Democrat Harry Reid to ‘man up’ over Social Security, it was obvious that she was not there to be goofed on.
2. The Rent Is Too Damn High Party -- Jimmy McMillan
He’s got the best beard of anyone running for office. He belongs to the funniest political party. And when he took the mic at the debate for the New York governor’s race, he stole the spotlight from Carl Paladino, something no one thought was possible. This video has been seen over 2.2 million times, and who can argue with this karate expert’s platform? And listen, a child’s stomach just growled. Did you hear it? You gotta listen like Jimmy.
1. ‘Some of you look a little more Asian to me’ -- Sharron Angle to dozens of Latino students
When asked by a Latino Las Vegas high school student why Angle’s recent commercials always seemed to include Latinos doing illegal activity, the Senate hopeful said two odd things. ‘You know, I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me,’ she said to gasps.
Then she said that people can’t always tell what nationality people are. ‘What we know, what we know about ourselves is that we are a melting pot in this country,’ Angle said. ‘My grandchildren are evidence of that. I’m evidence of that. I’ve been called the first Asian legislator in our Nevada state Assembly.’
-- Tony Pierce