The Gaffes of John Kerry
His most embarrassing quotes, in context.
Posted Thursday, Oct. 2, 2003, at 9:17 AM
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.
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 covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
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.
Photograph of John Kerry by Jim Bourg/Reuters.