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Jim McDermottJune 15, 2010

On this day 18 years ago, Dan Quayle famously misspelled potato, leading the 12-year-old child whom he "corrected" to later comment to David Letterman, "I know he's not an idiot, but he needs to study more. Do you have to go to college to be vice president?"

Garrison Keillor has the story at the bottom of his Writer's Almanac entry for today. And Youtube (of course) has the clip.

Quayle himself would describe the event in his 1994 memoir as "a defining moment of the worst kind imaginable." But 18 years on, would we still call what was clearly a simple mistake such a big deal?  

Is there room for gaffes in politics?

Jim McDermott, SJ

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Jim McCrea
12 years 1 month ago
Yes, there is room for political gaffes - George W. Bush immediately comes to mind.

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