GrammarPhile Blog

10 of the Most Embarrassing Political Content Errors

Posted by Sara Richmond   Apr 25, 2024 10:00:00 AM

PRN_Blogpost_04252024Aka Becoming Famous for “Potatoe”*

Imagine your name is Phil. To make this theoretical scenario more believable, let’s give you a last name: Jamieson.

Phil Jamieson. I just pulled that out of thin air.

I want you to be able to picture yourself clearly, so I’ll say you’re 6'8" and you have a dashing head of hair. You’re also running for Congress, Phil. You need votes, lots of them.

You hire a brilliant political campaign manager with years of experience. She knows all the slick moves, all the ways to undercut your opponents, every smart strategy behind plowing your way to the top.

Your campaign manager picks a brilliant theme song (Born in the U.S.A.) and outlines a content production plan, including ads for every medium, compelling speeches, and made-in-Hallmark photo ops. She’s got the 411 on every development in your opponents’ campaigns before they happen. She’s a regular networking powerhouse. She’s even got the dirt—the sleezy shenanigans the other side doesn’t want anybody to know about—in her back pocket. In other words, Phil, you’re a shoo-in.

And then it all falls apart.

Because your ads are full of snafus. They’re rife with redundancies. They’re torn asunder by typos.

Don’t believe me? Well, we’ve seen this happen with our own monocles. Errors that make you choke and spew your coffee across the kitchen table. Mistakes in political media that crush credibility—ads that end up doing the opposite of everything a campaign set out to do. Ones that will take their rightful place in a meme hall of fame.

10 of the Most Embarrassing Political Content Errors

  1. Barack Obama’s reelection campaign video containing “The Nonpartisan Congrssional Budget Office Says…” I think they were trying to save space, which could also save money (hence the relation to “budget office”), but I could be wrong.
  2. Cory Booker’s reelection ad, perfect except for “Reelect Barak Obama.” Ooof.
  3. Missouri GOP Senator Todd Akin’s campaign team misspelled “you’re,” fixed it with a worse misspelling, and then fixed it for real. The agony. The utter degradation.
  4. Mitt Romney’s iPhone app with “A Better Amercia.” First, tell me what Amercia is. Then I’ll know if it can get better.
  5. Rick Santorum's campaign sent an e-mail to reporters with the subject line: “MEDIA ADVISORY: SANTORUM PUBIC SCHEDULE.” Apparently, there was a lot of immature giggling over it (including mine).
  6. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) lost her campaign against Scott Brown (R), which some people attributed to her first attack ad tag line: “paid for by Massachusettes Democratic Party.” Teehee.
  7. Is there anything more heartwarmingly ironic than a push for education with a big old typo? Pat Buchanan’s banner “2009 National Conferenence” is a classic. Unfortunately, all the direct new sources we found for this have been archived, and more’s the pity.
  8. Donald Trump’s administration misspelling the British Prime Minister’s name. Three times. Did I mention the misspelled name was identical to that of an adult film star? You can’t make this stuff up.
  9. If your name is Rich Whitney (D), and you’re running for Illinois governor in 2010, make sure your name isn’t listed as “Rich Whitey” on the ballot in 23 wards, half of which are predominantly Black. But it’s your call, really.
  10. What do we know? Your worst typos—completely made-up words like “refudiate”—could become Oxford American Dictionary's Word of the Year. That’s something.

Finally, despite (or because of) the constant negative press, none of us will ever forget “COVFEFE.”

Long live typos, to our collective chagrin. Or maybe just have your political content proofread. We know a guy. Coincidentally, his name is Phil.



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