Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Gaffes

Michele Bachmann confuses John Wayne Gacy with The Duke

On the left a self-portrait of John Wayne Gacy in his clown costume, on the right John Wayne the cowboy hero.

Michele Bachmann had planned for Monday to be a very special day.

The conservative Minnesotan representative expected to triumphantly return to her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, to formally announce her candidacy for president.

Fate had blessed her with a strong showing in the most recent local poll, and her confidence was so mighty that she didn't even find it necessary to accept the apology of a veteran newsman who apologized for asking her if she felt she was a flake in the wake of so many gaffes and incorrect statements leading up to her bid for the GOP nomination for president.

And then it happened. A microphone was placed in front of her, and a statement that should have been ingrained in her head came out all wrong. She said that like the famous rugged cowboy star, John Wayne, she too was from Waterloo which was why she was picking the small town to announce her candidacy.

"Well what I want them to know is just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too," Bachmann told a Fox News reporter.

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Anthony Weiner, serial sexter, opts for ground service to deliver House resignation letter today

Anthony Weiner sexting pal Meagan Broussard in a photo she sent him

Four days after Anthony Weiner promised to quit, copies of his letter of resignation to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrived on the desks of House leaders today.  It takes effect Tuesday.

It is now up to Cuomo to call a special election for his state's 9th Congressional District, covering parts of Brooklyn and Queens, most likely to coincide with November voting.

In case you've been over on MySpace, last month the married, seven-term congressman accidentally tweeted a photo of an enlarged private portion of his body to his entire Twitter audience instead of a direct message to one woman.ex democratic rewpresentative anthony Weiner

Weiner at first said he had been hacked, but his refusals to deny they were his gray briefs raised questions among those who could spot their own underwear if it appeared online. And the Democrat finally admitted serial sexting and sexual conversations on cell, Twitter and Facebook with at least half a dozen women around the country over the last three years.

Weiner said he was sorry and would seek treatment for something.

But after two days in seclusion, more shower self-portraits emerged of Weiner's package as did word that Weiner had exchanged private messages with a 17-year-old Delaware high school girl.

Even if they were discussing the newest X-Men movie, that ended the patience of Democratic colleagues and calls for his resignation grew.

Weiner's future career plans are unknown. Larry Flynt offered Weiner a job in his porno empire.

However, after his own sex scandal, resignation and a period of out-of-sight contrition, Weiner's fellow New York Democrat, ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, got a job judging other pols on CNN.  Also, after another recent alleged New York sexual incident, the International Monetary Fund's top job is open.

Although short for self-justifying resignation letters that end up in the National Archives, Weiner's departure missive was way too long for Twitter -- 212 characters.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: ABC News (one of the photos Megan Broussard said she exchanged with Weiner); Timothy A. Clary / AFP-Getty Images (Weiner's head).

Yahoo New Zealand calls Sarah Palin 'someone so evil'

Sarah Palin and Tina Fey

Sarah Palin often complains that "the lamestream media" is out to get her, what with their "gotcha" questions and obsession over her every move. Friday, a Web producer for Yahoo New Zealand was exposed for negatively editorializing in the middle of a photo gallery intended to show celebrities who look alike.

On one of the images comparing the looks of the former governor and Emmy-winning actress Tina Fey, the caption writer made two mistakes. The first was when the writer typed "Tina Fey, was being constantly compared to the Republican Vice President, Sarah Palin..." Palin was the vice presidential nominee.

But the biggest gaffe was when the Web producer wrote, "Poor Tina - there's something painful about resembling someone so evil."

I.M Fletcher, one of the first bloggers down under who discovered the diss, cried foul.

"Since when has Sarah Palin been 'evil'? Perhaps the liberal writer is referring to the stitch-up by the Leftist media in the US who tried to blame the shooting of politician Gabrielle Giffords on Palin, because, well.. they could," Fletcher wrote.

"I'd like someone to point out anything Palin has done that is genuinely 'evil,'" the blogger wrote.

Yahoo New Zealand eventually took out the offending last sentence of the caption, but the caption is still calling Palin "the Republican Vice President."

Joe Biden might want to be notified if that were the case.

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Sarah Palin's chief fires back at Michele Bachmann's strategist

Elisabeth Hasselbeck can't get Sarah Palin to return her phone calls?

-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

 

Bathroom mirrors and cellphones, a lethal mix in modern American politics

Abraham Lincoln photographs himself with a CellphoneWho knew that bathroom mirrors would become such a politically potent item in this leadup year to a presidential election?

Especially when paired with a cellphone camera.

Some voters well beyond the age of 18 can remember when those reflective things were dinky squares of glass on the back of a little knobbed door opening to a modest medicine cabinet.

The personal closet behind the mirror held medicinal and other secrets that sometimes attracted the curiosity of visitors who were supposed to be using bathroom facilities.

Fathers and grandfathers stretched up their chins to see in that mirror where they were shaving a vulnerable throat. And women did whatever they do in front of those things.

But no one in those days envisioned mirrors stretching the entire wall width of the room, across two sinks and an expansive counter. And no one envisioned taking instant photos there, let alone transmitting such private images to a wider world.

Twitter profile pages would be blank, it seems, without bathroom mirrors to allow members to photograph themselves in all kinds of interesting positions.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Dumbest Rep of All?

But here we are in 2011 with a flurry of seemingly otherwise intelligent folks photographing themselves or parts of themselva photo of Meagan Broussard she said she sent to anthony weineres and sharing them electronically with strangers they will likely never meet.

Which may actually be the reason for the false sense of security that comes with many of today's electronic goodies. The false sense of privacy and distance, much like those casual airplane conversations with adjacent passengers you know you'll never see again.

A few months ago we had the New York Rep. Chris Lee using his cell and bathroom mirror to photograph his own bare chest and abs -- and, worse, his actual face -- to post for an online date. How does a married man -- and a Republican at that -- explain that away?

He couldn't. So he was gone from Congress rather quickly.Rep Chris Lee of New York

Now, comes another representative who drinks New York water, Anthony Weiner. Despite initial denials, it turns out the married Democrat had serial sex by Twitter, Facebook and phones with at least six women across the country, including Meagan Broussard, a single mother in Texas (see photo).

Weiner has decided he does not need to resign, despite mounting calls for his departure.

The motivations for such public sharing are likely as diverse as each individual involved, prompted by the false sense of privacy and security from being alone, perhaps intrigued by the interest of a famous or attractive person and the seeming safety of distance, though surely not anonymity. And apparently fueled by a sense of omnipotence in the minds of some pols.

According to the TMZ website, Weiner was aware two weeks ago that some blogger was contacting his female correspondents about his electronic liaisons. Yet he continued his exchanges, including posting to Twitter the now notorious cellphone photo of his bulging underpants.

Thank you for sharing.

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Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is reportedly pregnant

Weiner's resignation now sought by a growing number of people not sexted by him

 -- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow the Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Courtesy of @MrTruthIsHere (Lincoln); ABC News (Broussard); Associated Press (Lee).

Anthony Weiner's resignation now sought by a growing list of people who were not sexted by him

A photo Democrat Representative Anthony Weiner reported sent to Meagan Broussard ABCNews

There are at least three prominent Democrats out there who have not yet suggested that fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner should resign from the U.S. House of Representatives -- Barack Obama's White House, ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and CNN's Eliot Spitzer.

They all have good reasons to steer clear of the Weiner mess. Why would a president, even one out of the Chicago machine, want to touch such a thing? Pelosi needs all the Democrats she can hold in her minority caucus -- and anyway she's from California.

And as the notorious Client No. 9, Spitzer walked into his own public sex scandal for patronizing prostitutes after prosecuting them, moving from one political scandal in office to another of spouting DNC talking points on CNN with low ratings.

However, elsewhere, the $174,000 congressional salary of the New Yorker Weiner seems in distinct jeopardy since he suddenly became more famous for his underwear (briefs), for what they were covering or not, for what he was sexting while on duty and for lying and concocting a phony hacker plot when confronted with the distasteful news.

Tim Kaine, former chairman of the Democrat National Committee, Wednesday suggested Weiner's public lying was "unforgivable and he should resign."Eliot Spitzer former NY Democrat governor who resigned after using prostitutes

Admittedly, Kaine is himself running for office again (albeit only the Senate). So he could hardly be expected to endorse or ignore behavior involving even consensual sexually explicit online messages.

Then, Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a senior official of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Weiner should go. This one is serious.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress," Weiner's House colleague suggested. "In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign."

As his opening ploy to avoid joining the unemployment line after 10 days of lying, the seven-term Weiner this week appeared tearful at a news conference admitting his falsehoods and the allegations and sexting. He did claim that the half a dozen or so ongoing online and telephone relationships with women across the country were virtual affairs, not physically consummated.

While not suggesting Weiner resign, the often-speaking authority on pop stuff Dr. Drew confessed to his CNN audience that he had serious concerns for Weiner. "My fear," the doctor said, "is when all this really rushes in those moments that you see him looking so overwhelmed and so ashamed, that he could develop a severe mood disturbance."

In previous pathetic political news, Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who also drinks New York water, immediately resigned merely for posting a shirtless bathroom photo of his amazing abs. Weiner, however, is from New York City, which makes him far more important than upstater Lee.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, suggested that Pelosi's response, a simple call for a House Ethics Committee investigation, was empty and silly. "Do we really need an investigation to determine if this guy's a creep or not," Priebus said.   

Priebus, whose party now controls the House and is in position to take over the Senate next year, may want to rethink this approach. If creepiness becomes a bipartisan disqualification for Congress, neither chamber would likely ever have a quorum.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who represents Nevada, home to one of Weiner's more explicit virtual mistresses, candidly said he would like to defend Weiner.

But he could not.

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The advice Anthony Weiner gave Ben Aflleck about playing a crooked congressman on screen

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow the Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Top photo: Anthony Weiner holds a sign to verify his identity in a photo sent to Meagan Broussard. Credit: ABC News. Bottom photo: Spitzer. Credit: Associated Press

Anthony Weiner admits he lied about underpants photo; Twitter erupts with jokes

Anthony Weiner admitted on Monday to sending a lewd photo of himself to a 21-year-old female college student over his Twitter account after previously denying he had done so

Anthony Weiner, the Democratic New York congressman who earlier claimed his Twitter and Facebook accounts had been hacked, admitted Monday that he had been lying and the lewd photos were in fact of him.

"I haven't told the truth. And I've done things I deeply regret. I've brought pain to people I care about the most and people who believe in me. And for that, I'm deeply sorry," a teary-eyed Weiner stated at a news conference in the Big Apple.

While seemingly copping to almost every allegation that had been swirling since Memorial Day, Weiner even hinted that there could be some x-rated self-portraits floating around.

Weiner said he was not going to resign, but that he decided to come clean so the lying could cease.

"I was embarrassed and I didn't want it to lead to more embarrassing lies," he said.

Needless to say, the karma has come full circle. Using the same medium where Weiner flirted with several young women, Twitter users are now poking fun of the congressman and the fine mess he has gotten himself into.

From jabs by comedian Steve Martin who joked "BREAKING NEWS: Rep. Weiner has apologized to Paul Revere" to the inevitable comparisons to Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and John Edwards, the perfect storm of a man with the last name of Weiner admitting to being caught with his pants down is too much for the social network to ignore.

After the jump, a hearty collection of the best one-liners about Weiner's admission.

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You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? Well, he did. Now, who looks stupid?

Sarah Palin

You may have heard recently something about that Sarah Palin telling a reporter that Paul Revere warned the British on his famous rousing revolutionary ride.

Now, that so many Americans have wallowed in their smug confirmation that Palin is an idiot unqualified for anything but Paul Revere thinks about something paulreverefactsdotcomrepeating sixth-grade history, how far, wide and fast do you think the contradictory news will spread that the former governor of Alaska was indeed correct?

That the Republican non-candidate, in fact, knew more about the actual facts of Revere's midnight ride than all those idiots unknowingly revealing their own ignorance by laughing at her faux faux pas? How secretly embarrassing this must be, to be forced to face that you're dumber than the reputed dummy.

As it happens, though, such phenomena are regular occurrences in American politics, reminding consumers of news to be wary when some fresh story seems to fit contemporary assumptions so absolutely perfectly.

The well-known fable is Revere's late-night ride to warn fellow revolutionaries that....

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Sarah Palin claims Paul Revere warned the British

Sarah Palin, if you haven't heard, is taking some of her family around the country, visiting historical U.S. landmarks, and talking to the media along the way.

Thursday her "One Nation" traveling road show stopped in Boston, where the former Alaska governor, her parents, her husband, and little Piper visited Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church, and Bunker Hill. Palin posted photos of that leg of her trip on the SarahPAC blog.

One moment that you won't find posted on the blog is Palin's response to reporters when they asked her who Paul Revere was. Instead of saying, "Come on, everyone knows who Paul Revere, the silversmith and patriot is," she stammered while saying this:

"He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

Needless to say, the lamestream media are having a field day with that gaffe.

Politico: Palin makes Bachmann look like Longfellow

Forbes: This certainly gives us an entirely new point of view to consider when examining our nation’s founding.

Mediaite: Palin’s version wasn’t exactly the official History Channel rendition of the tale...

ABC: Perhaps this week's lesson in the annals of American history was necessary for Sarah Palin.

Fox News has the video up leading their site, but no text or commentary. Perhaps they're speechless.

All of this reminds me of a fortune cookie I once received that said, "We teach what we most need to learn." In which case, ride on, "One Nation," ride on.

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Piper Palin shares her mom's hot and cold attitude toward the media

-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

Weinergate: Whose crotch was it and when did he know it?

New York Democrat Rep Anthony Weiner 6-11This posting of personal photos business that become extremely embarassing when made public has become a bipartisan affair, at least for a member of a member of the New York congressional caucus.

How can anyone forget the look-at-my-abs bathroom mirror shot of a shirtless New York Rep. Chris Lee a while back? The Republican resigned his upstate seat. And Democrats just won it in a special election.

Now, there's New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. He's a Democrat. Somehow a photo of someone's bulging briefs was posted on Weiner's Twitter page seemingly aimed for a West Coast college coed.

The seven-term member seems to have taken as his PR role model the serial stumbles of the Obama White House following the successful whacking last month of Osama bin Laden: Tell your story ASAP. Then change part of it. Get part of it wrong. Make more mistakes correcting it. Blame the media. Having confused most people, announce you won't talk about it anymore, causing them then to wonder about everything,

This is the negative corollary of the Sarah Palin "One Nation" bus tour media strategy, which is "don't-tell-anyone-anything-then-they'll-want-your-story-all-the-more." Now that Weiner isn't talking about the underwear shot anymore, everyone else is.

At first, he said his Twitter account was hacked, that he didn't send the photo. But the United States congressman with a hacked communications account did not report it to the FBI, which seems odd if you are genuinely concerned and hacked. As the venerable Roger Simon points out here this morning, sending a lewd photo to an adult is not a crime. However, lying to a federal agent about it is.

The outspoken Queens Democrat, who had eyes on the New York City mayor's office, went silent Tuesday, talked endlessly about the issue Wednesday and then went silent again Thursday.

Many people with intimate knowledge of their own crotch began to wonder and chuckle over Weiner's wiggling response; he said he was unable to say "with certitude" whether it was his private area in the photo, which carried no credit line.

Classic political strategy, of course, strongly suggests that if you experience this problem for more than four days, you should consult your PR professional immediately.

He or she will tell you that whatever the issue or body part, you put every bad news detail out there yourself all at once, take your mortification, the late-night jokes and reboot. As our colleague James Oliphant writes here, political strategists are noting that Weiner has done just about everything wrong, for a politician who hopes to continue in that line of work.

Although if this was a TV season finale, the Weiner story is a great cliffhanger. 

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of briefs, don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images (Weiner in elevator).

Rep. Anthony Weiner denies he sent link to photo of a man in underpants

Weiner

Anthony Weiner cannot confirm nor deny that the crotch shot is of him, but the New York congressman has finally gone on the record to say that he did not send the link of the image to a 21-year-old female student via Twitter.

"I did not send that photo. My system was hacked. I was pranked," Weiner told ABC News on Wednesday.

"Somebody sent a picture of a wiener from Weiner's account. I've been hearing that joke since I was 5," the Democrat said, acknowledging the endless barrage of puns levied against him in what is being deemed Weiner-gate.

The controversy began Friday when a lewd photo of a man in gray underwear appeared on Weiner's Twitter page directed to Gennette Cordova, a student at Western Washington University [Correction: a previous version of this story said Cordova attended Washington State]. Cordova is one of the 198 people that the congressman follows on the social network. She has since deleted her original Twitter account and relaunched a new one.

The tweet in question was quickly deleted from Weiner's page but not before Dan Wolfe (who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a "Conservative Reagan Republican") retweeted the message adding "Anthony Weiner tweets X RATED PIC TO FOLLOWER!"

Weiner's defenders have gone to great lengths to discredit Wolfe using a several screen shots from a variety of websites to track the curious history of this tempest in a tweet. Others have noted that Wolfe has been obsessively tweeting about the congressman, 287 times since April.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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