The gaffes of John Kerry.

Politics and policy.
Oct. 2 2003 9:17 AM

The Gaffes of John Kerry

His most embarrassing quotes, in context.

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Charge: Kerry delivered this joke at a business breakfast shortly after the election of President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle. The co-chairman of the Bush-Quayle campaign in Massachusetts called it "an extraordinarily reckless comment" that was "very clearly in bad taste."

Context: The Secret Service hadn't really been told to shoot Quayle. Kerry was joking. Moreover, the joke had been going around Washington for some time.

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Defense: Kerry immediately issued a statement saying: "I shouldn't have repeated the story. It was inappropriate and I apologize for doing so." He later told the Boston Globe that he was "kicking himself" for his "bad taste."

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Chris Suellentrop is the deputy editor for blogs at Yahoo News and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. He has reviewed video games for Slate, Rolling Stone, and NewYorker.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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