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Miss Utah joins famous flubs hall of fame: 8 top gaffes

June 17, 2013 at 3:08 PM ET

Joe Biden, Miss Utah, and Sarah Palin have made some famous mistakes.
AP, Getty images
Joe Biden, Miss Utah, and Sarah Palin have made some famous mistakes.

After her flubbed response during the Q&A portion of Sunday’s Miss USA pageant, Miss Utah can take solace in at least one thing – she's not alone.

From politicians to musicians to celebrities, plenty have experienced that queasy feeling of the public screw-up. Miss Utah, Marissa Powell, 21, joined the ranks with her head-scratching answer to the question of why women make less money than men in America. Her rambling response brought up memories of another cringe-worthy pageant answer, given by Miss South Carolina in the 2007 Miss Teen USA competition, when she butchered a question about geography.

Here are some other memorable missteps:

John Kerry: Big Red Sox fan

The Secretary of State and former Massachusetts senator is a self-proclaimed big Boston Red Sox fan. When asked in 2004 to name his favorite player, he said “Manny Ortiz.” There is a David Ortiz and a Manny Ramirez, but no such Manny Ortiz exists.

When talking about the traditional seventh-inning stretch song played by the Red Sox at home games, he also spoke warmly of “Sweet Adeline.” The song is “Sweet Caroline’’ by Neil Diamond.

He says potato, Dan Quayle says potatoe

In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle visited a New Jersey elementary school to lead a sixth-grade spelling bee. When student William Figueroa, 12, wrote “potato’’ on the blackboard, Quayle corrected him by adding an “e’’ on the end to leave “potatoe’’ on the board.

The goof was splashed all over the media and haunted Quayle whenever his intelligence was questioned.

Sarah Palin notes how Paul Revere warned the British

In 2011, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke to a group of reporters in Boston during her “One Nation’’ road show and was asked if she knew who Paul Revere was.

Video: Sarah Palin offered her version of the midnight ride of Paul Revere in Boston on Friday. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

“He who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and, um, making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that, uh, we were going to be secure and we were going to be free,’’ she responded.

One minor detail there – Paul Revere didn’t warn the British, he warned the colonial militia that the British were coming.

In the 2008 presidential election, the former governor of Alaska also had some geography issues when she said Russia was “our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.”

Joe Biden and a four-letter word

Vice President Joe Biden has developed a reputation for speaking his mind unpredictably, but on the campaign trail in 2008, math proved to be his main obstacle in speaking to an audience in Ohio.

“The number one job facing the middle class and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: J-O-B-S, jobs,’’ Biden said.

Um, er, uh, Rick Perry will get back to you on that one

In November 2011, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry didn’t do his campaign any favors when he blanked in the middle of a response during a Republican presidential debate. Perry said there were three government agencies he would eliminate if he became president but stopped after two.

““I will tell you, it’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone,” he said. “Commerce, education, and the, um, what’s the third one there …”

Another candidate offered the Environmental Protection Agency to a floundering Perry as a possibility. Perry was then asked by moderator John Harwood if he could name the final agency he would terminate.

“The third one I can’t,” Perry said, smiling. “Oops.”

Christina Aguilera watches the twilight’s last gleaming

Pop star Christina Aguilera ran into issues while belting out “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Super Bowl in 2011, pulling a Frank Drebin from “Naked Gun’’ and changing the words.

“Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming” became “Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, what so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming.”

Aguilera apologized afterward for messing up the line.

F-bomb anchor

In April, aspiring news anchor A.J. Clemente got fired right after his first broadcast because he let a pair of expletives slip while on the air for NBC affiliate KYFR in North Dakota.

Video: A.J. Clemente, who lost his job at North Dakota’s KFYR after cursing on live TV, discusses his “rookie mistake” with TODAY’s Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie.

The video of Clemente’s broadcast went viral, and during an appearance on TODAY he said watching it was “gut-wrenching.” Clemente eventually secured another job – as a bartender.

Boom goes the dynamite

In an entire sports report that made four minutes seem like an excruciating eternity, then-Ball State University sportscaster Brian Collins fumbled his lines repeatedly. Filling in for the regular sportscaster, who was sick that day, Collins did his best to keep up when the teleprompter fast-forwarded the script.

Describing a Pacers-Nets game, his ad-libbing resulted in his now-famous catchphrase of “Boom goes the dynamite!”


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