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Allen's 'Macaca' Gaffe, and Politicians' Errors

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Allen's 'Macaca' Gaffe, and Politicians' Errors

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Allen's 'Macaca' Gaffe, and Politicians' Errors

Allen's 'Macaca' Gaffe, and Politicians' Errors

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5751603/5751604" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

All politicians say things they regret, but some say things they really regret: ill-advised remarks that change the trajectory of their careers in an instant. The most recent example is Virginia Sen. George Allen, who has dropped off most short lists for president in 2008 after calling a dark-skinned man in his audience "macaca."

We look at Allen's attempts at recovery and recall some famous gaffes of campaigns past.

Politicians Say the Gaffiest Things

George Allen, meet your fellow members of the "Oops" club.

Politicians, especially those who, like you, aspire to the presidency, have a special talent for saying the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just as you did in August, when you called a political rival's Indian-American volunteer worker a "macaca" — a term that means a kind of monkey and that is used as a slur in some parts of the world.

Here are five of your colleagues in the Hall of Stupid Remarks. If there's one lesson to learn from them, it is this: The more you say about your foolish comment, the worse it gets.

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