The most cringe-worthy lines of the 2012 GOP convention (that didn’t involve Clint Eastwood)

August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood’s performance Thursday night at the Republican National Convention might have been the most groan-worthy of the week, but it was hardly the only moment that had some viewers shuddering.

Here’s a recap of some of the most uncomfortable, clichéd and downright cheesy moments from what was the 2012 GOP convention:

(A quick caveat first, though. We understand that the crowd of delegates ate up pretty much everything below. But can’t we still have a little fun?)

Rick Santorum’s extended "hands' metaphor

An extended hands metaphor went on for about five “hands” too many. It began “I shook the hand of the American Dream, and it has a strong grip,” and didn’t get much better from there. Rather than printing it all here, we recommend you watch the video.

Just wow.

Mike Huckabee’s Wasserman Schultz joke 

Here’s how the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate led off his speech Wednesday: “The only hitch in an otherwise perfect week was the awful noise coming from the hotel room next door to mine. Turns out it was just Debbie Wasserman Schultz practicing her speech for the DNC in Charlotte next week. Bless her heart.”

It was a crowd-pleaser; that’s for sure. But it also seemed a little mean-spirited coming from the normally affable Fox News host. And for a refresher on what "bless her heart" means, see here:

The first one-third of Tim Pawlenty’s speech

The Fix honestly feels bad for Pawlenty. He’s now gotten very close to the GOP vice presidential nomination twice, only to have it snatched from him at the last moment. But that doesn’t excuse the number of groaners in his speech Tuesday. Pawlenty’s speech read more like a comedian trying out new material as a local open mic night (and failing). A couple lowlights:

“The president takes more vacations than that guy on the Bizarre Foods show.”

“I've come to realize that Barack Obama is the tattoo president. Like a big tattoo, it seemed cool when you were young.”

“Barack Obama's failed us. But look, it's understandable. A lot of people fail at their first job.”

(OK, we understand the joke, but Republicans generally contend that Obama had never been an executive before coming president, not that he’s never actually had a job.)

Thune’s basketball joke

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is broken up that the president has never invited him to play basketball. Well, not really. Thune, a former high school basketball star and perhaps the one senator who could beat Obama one-on-one, offered this: “The next question is, Do you think you could take him one-on-one?’ I say, ‘I really don't know, I've never seen him play.’ But I can tell you this. President Obama would be easy to defend, because you know he's always going to go to his left.”

(Cue rimshot.)

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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