It was a great year for quotes in politics, but not the kind of inspirational rhetoric you’re likely to ever see engraved in stone. No, 2015 was a year for quotes that were more likely to find their way into late-night comedy routines than history books. So here’s a look at some of the best (or worst) lines from politicians this year.
"I wouldn't be doing this dumb ass live-stream if I wasn't, so get over it."
– Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., answering the third-most-asked question on Google about him: "Is Rand Paul still running for president?"
It’s a been a frustrating year for GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul. He has struggled to gain traction in the polls after launching what many thought could be a successful campaign. And that frustration became apparent in October when, during a live video stream using the app Periscope, he vented about his troubled campaign in what quickly became a viral moment. A campaign spokesman called it a “playful” moment.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
- Donald Trump during his presidential announcement speech
Trump set the tone for his brash and unfiltered campaign when he announced his 2016 run in June. Since then he has gone on to offend Muslims, African-Americans, his GOP competitors and the media, just to name a few. But his unapologetic style continues to strike a chord with Republican primary voters.
“What, like with a cloth or something?...I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”
- Hillary Clinton responding to a question about whether she "wiped" her personal email server before turning it over to authorities
The Democratic presidential frontrunner spent most of the summer dogged by questions about her use of a personal email server while secretary of state. During a news conference in August, she laughed off a question about whether she had wiped the server before allowing authorities to inspect it. She later apologized for the sarcasm and shifted her tone when talking about her email usage at the State Department.
“I’m not some weirdo that’s out here just kinda running crazy, I’m the former governor of the state of Virginia.”
- Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore to the Girard at Large radio show
It’s been a tough campaign for GOP presidential candidate Jim Gilmore. He’s barely registering in the polls and has made only one undercard debate. So, during a radio interview in November, he felt the need to remind voters he’s not just some “weirdo.”
“If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog...By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly.”
- Ben Carson talking to reporters about the Syrian refugee crisis.
After the terror attacks in France, the Republican presidential field mostly lined up behind the idea that no Syrian refugees should be allowed in the U.S. But Ben Carson seemed to up the ante when he likened the refugees to rabid dogs during a campaign event in November.
“We need more welders and less philosophers.”
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during a GOP presidential debate
A collective gasp could be heard coming from the country’s liberal arts universities back in November when Republican presidential hopeful downplayed the value of a philosophy degree while stressing the importance of vocational training. Rubio has since promised to lay off philosophers.
"I have an ample supply of underwear."
–Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in response to comedian Larry David's impersonation of him on "Saturday Night Live," saying he owns just one pair of undies
Bernie Sanders has surprised many with his contributions to the 2016 race. One: He has given Clinton a respectable challenge in the polls. And two: He has given Larry David the chance to impersonate him on "Saturday Night Live." During the show’s mocking of the Democratic debate in October, David said, “I own one pair of underwear. That’s it. Some of these billionaires they have three, four pairs.” The Sunday after, Sanders clarified that he does, in fact, own multiple pairs of underwear.
“He's a bro with no ho."
- Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., caught on mic talking about former GOP presidential hopeful Lindsay Graham
Lindsey Graham was an example of the rare presidential candidate without a significant other. That prompted one of his colleagues, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, to refer to him as the bro without -- well -- a wife. The quip was caught on an open mic by the Huffington Post.
“You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues.”
- Lincoln Chafee during the first Democratic debate
Republican turned independent turned Democrat Lincoln Chafee ran a presidential campaign that will best be known for his fondness for the metric system and this quote. Chafee has maintained that, though he may have been in different parties, he has always been “a block of granite” when it comes to the issues. The granite proved too heavy to rise from the bottom of the polls, and Chafee ended his run in October.
"As you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.”
–Kanye West at the Video Music Awards
The rapper was the first to declare for 2020.
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”
- Donald Trump after the Fox News Republican presidential debate
Trump did not like the questions he got during the first Republican presidential debate in August, so he went after the moderators. Specifically, Megyn Kelly. He later said the comment was not a reference to Kelly’s menstrual cycle.
"I don't think either President Obama or Jeb Bush are anti-pea, that's not how we're taking it."
–Tim McGreevy, CEO of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council
The New York Times shocked the world (or at least Twitter) in July by suggesting a guacamole recipe that called for peas. It was panned by both Obama and Jeb Bush, prompting the pea lobby to defend the veggie in an interview with the New Republic.
“I’m a Catholic but I’ve used birth control — and not just the rhythm method.”
- Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., talking about birth control while campaigning in New Hampshire
Some candidates draw on personal experience when explaining their positions on birth control. And Chris Christie delivered this line that we can't unhear to a crowd in Manchester.
“This individual literally flew in under the radar.”
- Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson talking gyrocopter with NBC’s Peter Alexander
A Florida man made international headlines in April when he landed his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to protest campaign finance laws. Douglas Hughes is now hoping to run for Congress, though his legal troubles may complicate his aspirations.
"I have a Gucci store that's worth more than Romney."
- Donald Trump in an interview with the Des Moines Register
Shortly before declaring his presidential run, Donald Trump told Iowa’s top newspaper he is “the most successful person ever to run for the presidency.” The paper later fact checked Trump’s Gucci claim and found the statement is probably true.
- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in King v. Burwell decision
The Court’s most conservative member had a number of colorful lines in his minority opinion in the case that threatened to essentially undo Obamacare. Scalia called the majority’s ruling that Americans can keep tax subsidies to help them pay for health insurance “pure applesauce.” Other highlights of Scalia’s dissent include using the phrase “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”
“As Taylor Swift said, ‘Haters are gonna hate.’”
- Former Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., defending his Downton Abbey office.
The former Illinois congressman dominated Capitol Hill headlines back in February after The Washington Post reported on his Downton Abbey themed office. When Schock was asked about his lavish digs by ABC News, he said, “I'm also not going to live in a cave. So when I post an Instagram photo with me and my friends, as Taylor Swift said, ‘haters gonna hate.’” It inspired a deeper look into the GOP representative’s spending habits and led to Schock’s resignation from Congress in March.
“Why don't you go ask the Senate Democrats when they're going to get off their ass and do something other than to vote no.”
- Then House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The battle over President Obama’s immigration actions threatened to cut off funding for the Department of Homeland Security. But before a compromise was reached, the top House Republican insisted his chamber of Congress had “done its job” and called on Senate Democrats to, well, get off their derrières. Eventually Boehner met many of the Democrats demands and caused further friction between him and his caucus.
“At least I wasn't 100 percent sober.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
At some point or another, we’ve all found ourselves fighting the temptation to nod off during a long address. Most of us, however, were not sitting in the front row at the State of the Union when the infraction occurred. The 81-year-old Ginsburg had a defense for dozing off -- red wine. At a dinner before the president’s speech in January, fellow Justice Anthony Kennedy brought a nice bottle of red to accompany a meal that “was so delicious, it needed wine.”