Matthew Parris has a new book, co-authored with Phil Mason, called Mission Accomplished! Things Politicians Wish They Hadn’t Said. It sounds a lot of fun. Here are a few examples from the book:
This skunk is unbelievably powerful. It’s completely different to – I think I’ll stop there.
Conservative leader David Cameron on drugs control plans.
The number of women aged between 15 and 50 is fixed. Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can ask is for them to do their best per head.
Hakuo Yanagisawa, Japanese Health Minister, on his country’s low birth rate. He later said he was “sorry to call them machines.”
Italy is now a great country to invest in…today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries… superb girls.
Silvio Berlusconi visits the New York Stock Exchange .
Do you have blacks, too?
George W. Bush to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso. Witnessed, but not reported, by the White House press corps. Brazil has the largest population of blacks of any country outside Africa.
There are neighbourhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through today.
John McCain visits a market in the Iraqi capital in April 2007, during which he was flanked by 22 soldiers, ten armoured Humvees, and two Apache attack helicopters.
Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran
McCain, singing a riposte (to the tune of the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann) on being asked about his post-Iraq policy towards Iran. When asked if he was not being insensitive, he replied, “Insensitive to what? The Iranians?”
Iran, Cuba, Venezuela – these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.
Barack Obama, campaign rally, Oregon, May 18, 2008
Let me be absolutely clear: Iran is a grave threat.
Obama, campaign rally, Montana, May 19, 2008
I think it’s time for us to end the embargo with Cuba… [It] has failed to provide the sorts of rising standards of living and has squeezed the innocents in Cuba, and utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro… it’s time for us to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed.
Obama, to a university audience, Illinois, January 2004
As president, I’ll maintain the embargo – it’s an important inducement for change.
Obama, to a Cuban-American audience, Miami, August 2007
I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.
Hillary Clinton, campaigning in March 2008, describing her visit to Bosnia in 1996. In fact, television footage showed her and her daughter, Chelsea, calmly disembarking from the aircraft at Tuzla airport and being welcomed by a local girl. Clinton was shown hugging the child wreathed in smiles for the cameras.
Clinton explaining her account, May 2008
I supported the President when he asked for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Bill Clinton, speech in Mississippi, May 2003
I…opposed Iraq from the beginning
Clinton, campaigning with wife Hillary in the presidential primaries, November 2007