The 2022 midterms were nothing short of a spectacle as Republicans and Democrats battled it out in what ended up being a surprisingly close series of races.
There was no shortage of gaffes this cycle and here are some of the year’s most noteworthy:
Not the white gaffe for this year
In late June, the Supreme Court overturned their prior decision, Roe v. Wade, in a landmark ruling that rocked the political world. Republicans and Democrats of all stripes waded into the media circus to fundraise, campaign, and take shots at one another.
One of those shots came from U.S. Representative Mary Miller (R-Ill.) who, while stumping with former President Donald J. Trump said the decision was a ‘historic victory for White life in the Supreme Court.’
Miller’s team immediately issued a statement saying it was an error, and she meant to say ‘a historic victory for right to life by the Supreme Court.’
A fairly understandable slip of the tongue given some of the gaffes on our list but definitely not a mistake you want to make in today’s politically charged climate.
Let them eat crudités
The race for the Pennsylvania Senate was a close one with any perceived weakness being viciously exploited by the other side. One such gaffe came from Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz. From the beginning of the race John Fetterman’s campaign worked hard to paint Oz as an out of touch carpetbagger and this was not helped by Oz’ most infamous gaffe.
Filming at a local grocery store to highlight price increases due to inflation, Dr. Oz said he and his wife need to purchase some vegetables for crudités. While Dr. Oz was correct in identifying crudités as a vegetable platter, it was his calling it ‘crudités’ instead of the more blue collar ‘veggie platter’ that Fetterman exploited.
Hearkening to his blue collar persona, Fetterman release a video making fun of the incident and released mech off the gaffe, raising over one million dollars off it alone.
Dr. Oz would go onto lose his Senate race.
While Dr. Oz had his fair share of mishaps it is hard to compare them to the quantity of Fetterman’s. Never a particularly polished politician, Fetterman suffered a stroke four days before the primary that set a long road to recovery in the midst of a political campaign.
There were small gaffes, like saying ‘The [Philadelphia] Eagles are so much better than the Eagles,’ to nonsensical sentences like, ‘And make sure you take advantage of this amazing opportunity to, the only thing you have… stand… to lose is your record.’
The Fetterman campaign defended the Senator-elect’s health, ‘As we’ve said over and over again, John is healthy and he also still has a lingering auditory processing issue that his doctors expect will go away,’ while the Oz campaign repeatedly called it into question.
This controversy ultimately spilled out into the debate between Fetterman and Oz where, put on a live stage for a prolonged period of time, the hit to Fetterman’s health really began to show. Despite having aids such as teleprompters, Fetterman struggled to answer questions from the moderators and the majority of the post debate conversation was around his health and performance.
While plenty of politicians this year have had their fair share of goofs, none can ever really match the pure volume and absurdity that has come from President Joe Biden. Long characterized as perpetually ‘putting his foot in his mouth’ Biden has not changed in the past year.
Some of these include asking ‘Where’s Jackie?’ two months after the Representative, Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) was killed in a car accident and calling Kamala Harris ‘a great president’. This has not merely been limited to slips of the tongue. Biden has often wandered off after giving speeches and has been prone to giving nonsensical answers. When asked if First Lady Jill Biden supported a 2024 run he responded with ‘Dr. Biden thinks that uh, my wife thinks that uh, that I uh, that, that we’re, that we’re doing something very important.’
Gaffes are an inevitability on any campaign trail. Whether they are slips of the tongues, slips of the body, or just plain confusion it always makes following politics a little more entertaining.