Political Gaffes

By Lauren Vicary - 2012-09-20T17:59:04Z

Photograph by Bettmann/Corbis

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A Crying Shame

Edmund Muskie, seen as the Democratic favorite when he ran for president in 1972, reportedly had tears on his cheeks when he condemned Manchester Union-Leader publisher William Loeb in front of the newspaper's offices in February of that year. Loeb had written critically of Muskie and his wife and published a damaging letter suggesting the Maine senator had laughed at an aide's ethic slur against one of the state's largest voting blocs, French-Canadian Americans. The letter was later revealed to be a forgery planted by Nixon's dirty-tricks team. Muskie and some observers said it wasn't tears, just snow melting on his face, but the perception of weakness was fatal.