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Political Gaffes That Changed Presidential Campaigns -- PICTURES Political Gaffes That Changed Presidential Campaigns -- PICTURES

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Politics / Politics

Political Gaffes That Changed Presidential Campaigns -- PICTURES

February 6, 2012

Long before Mitt Romney's "very poor" comment, presidential candidates were making damaging gaffes on the campaign trail for decades. Click through to take a walk down memory lane.

Republican presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon wipes his face with a handkerchief during the first of four nationally televised presidential debates on Sept. 26, 1960 with John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee. Nixon's profuse sweating on stage with cool-as-a-cucumber Kennedy proved to be a major campaign misfire.(AP Photo/File)

President Gerald Ford speaks during the first of three televised presidential debates on Sept. 23, 1976 with Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in Philadelphia. During one of those debates Ford declared that Poland was not under the domination of the Soviet Union, which at the time it was. Time magazine called it "the blooper heard round the world." Ford's rival said the president had "disgraced our country."(AP Photo/File)

In this Oct. 13, 1988 photo, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis shakes hands with Republican George H.W. Bush prior to their second and final presidential debate in Los Angeles. During the debate Dukakis was asked whether he'd favor the death penalty if his wife, Kitty, were raped and murdered. His emotionally detached response was a classic case of being too cool under fire. Kitty Dukakis later wrote in her memoir, "That chilling incident at the second debate was the nail in the coffin.... Michael made a mistake; he answered a question he should have hurled right back into the face of his questioner."(AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)


In this Sept. 13, 1988 photo, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis gets a ride in a new M1-A-1 battle tank during a visit to General Dynamics in Sterling Heights, Mich., where he told workers he's not soft on defense. The image of a helmeted Dukakis taking a spin in a tank proved to be the ultimate in What Not To Wear for a presidential candidate.(AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, File)

President Jimmy Carter and Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan shake hands in Cleveland before debating on Oct. 28, 1980 before a nationwide television audience. Carter fumbled a presidential debate question about the Cold War when he cited his 13-year-old daughter Amy on the subject of nuclear war. "I think, to close out this discussion, it would be better to put into perspective what we're talking about. I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said she thought nuclear weaponry, and the control of nuclear arms. This is a formidable force."(AP Photo)

The most telling moment in a three-way debate between President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot on Oct. 15, 1992 wasn't conveyed in words. It was Bush's glance at his watch. The president already was battling perceptions that he was out of touch and out of ideas in a time of economic distress.(AP Photo)

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