It's hard to imagine imagery more cringe-worthy (or likely to cause psychological scarring and/or burning of the eyes) as that of Tom DeLay shaking his geriatric ass on national TV. When the former House Majority Leader and indicted criminal appeared on the 2009 season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," he cut loose to "Wild Thing," doing the cha cha in his orthopedic shoes, sliding across the stage, playing air guitar, and shaking his booty at the camera. As Newsweek's Holly Bailey wrote, "Somewhere in Idaho, Larry Craig is leaning in very close to his television."
Before losing the 2004 New Hampshire primary, Joe Lieberman declared that his campaign was gaining "Joementum." On election night, he celebrated his fifth-place finish by laughably declaring himself in a "three-way split decision for third place." After he dropped his presidential bid a week later, Slate correspondent William Saletan paid tribute to Lieberman in a "Joebituary," writing that he had suffered "Joemiliation" and wound up as "Joadkill" after going "Joe-for-7" in the primaries. "Joe revoir, Joe. Joerivederci. Hasta Joe Vista. ... There is no Joe in Mudville."
While attending the 2006 G-8 summit, President Bush raised eyebrows when he gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a creepy, uninvited neck rub. As Jon Stewart characterized it, "The chancellor of Germany disengaged herself from the president of the United States using a move she learned in date rape prevention class."
As we learned during the 2008 campaign, when Sarah Palin talks, disaster follows. But usually it's not this vivid. During a turkey pardoning photo-op in Alaska shortly after the 2008 election, Palin gave an interview and yammered on while turkeys were being slaughtered in the background, completely oblivious to the carnage unfolding behind her. From David Letterman's Top 10 Sarah Palin Excuses For Turkey Slaughter: #10. "I can see Russia, but I can't see what's going on 5 feet behind me."
Federal prosecutors nailed ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-bag) for trying to sell President Obama's Senate seat, recording a series of profanity-laced conversations in which he said things like "I've got this thing and it's f**king golden," "I'm just not giving it up for f**king nothing," and "Give this motherf**ker Obama his senator? F**k him. For nothing. F**k him.'" Shocking as it was, Americans were ultimately more shocked by his hair, which was described by various observers as a perfect bird's nest for some black crows, cotton candy coated with black spray paint, Klingon helmet hair, or something you'd see on "Animal Planet" or "Unsolved Mysteries."
The former New Jersey governor resigned after confessing to carrying on a secret homosexual affair with an Israeli poet. Later, in a tell-all book, McGreevey also recounted how he used to cruise highway rest stops to have anonymous sex with gay truckers. Jay Leno asked the pertinent question: "At what point do you stop having anonymous sex at truck stops and say to yourself, 'I'm tired of this, I’d rather be governor'?"
President Bush's "warrior princess" committed one of the great faux pas of all time at a Washington dinner party. Condoleezza Rice normally chooses her words with careful precision, which is why jaws dropped when she made a revealing slip of the tongue. Rice, who is unmarried, was reportedly overheard saying, "As I was telling my husb—" before abruptly stopping herself. She continued: "As I was telling President Bush."
When President Bush busted a move and got jiggy with it alongside African dancers at a White House event to promote Malaria awareness, the world quickly learned that he dances about as well as he speaks. It wasn't the only time he showcased his lack of rhythm for all the world to see. See also: Bush's Tap Dance, Bush's African Dance Party, and Bush's Saudi Sword Dance.
Karl Rove (AKA "Bush's Brain") cut loose and gave an impromptu rap performance at the 2007 Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner. As Politico reported, "His arms flailed, he mugged, he shimmied, he crossed his hands, he backed it up, his BlackBerry became a prop, his voice went guttural, he took it up an octave." Jon Stewart came up with his own Rove rap: "From the West Wing to the Crawford Ranch / Karl Rove has destroyed the executive branch / He has no scruples and I don't mean maybe / He said John McCain had a secret black baby / F**k that guy."
Bill And Hillary Clinton left the White House amid controversy when it was revealed that they made off with all kinds of household goods, including china, flatware, rugs, televisions, sofas. They later returned some $28,000 worth of furniture, but as Jimmy Fallon noted, the dollar amount was actually much lower as many of the items were "stained."