The 8 most memorable hot mike moments in politics (VIDEO)

September 24, 2013

President Obama was overheard on an open microphone at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday saying that he quit smoking six years ago "because I'm afraid of my wife."

It's not the first time a conversation intended to be private was made public by a hot mike. And it won't be the last.

Below we give you the eight most memorable hot mike moments in politics, in reverse chronological order. Have a favorite that we didn't list? The comments section awaits!

1. "After my election, I have more flexibility." Obama's comment to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2012 was instant fodder for Republicans who sought to paint the president as overly political.

2. "I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar." Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy shared his frustration over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Obama at the 2011 G-20 Summit in Cannes. "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you,” Obama replied.

3. Carly Fiorina insults Sen. Barbara Boxer's hair. Before a television interview during the 2010 Senate campaign, Fiorina described Boxer's hair as "Soooo yesterday."

4. Vice President Biden's "big [expletive] deal" remark. At the signing of the health-care bill in 2010, the vice president sounded an enthusiastic note to Obama -- perhaps a bit too enthusiastic.

5. Obama calls Kanye West a "jackass." The president wasn't a fan of West interrupting Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. He made his feelings known in what was intended as a on off-the-record remark to CNBC.

6. "The most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen." Then-presidential candidate John Kerry described GOP critics in pretty harsh terms during a 2004 conversation with a supporter.


S3cretary of State and former senator John F. Kerry. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

7. "There's Adam Clymer, major league a------." During a 2000 presidential campaign rally, George W. Bush pointed out New York Times reporter Adam Clymer, and described him in a not-so-flattering context.


Former president George Bush and former vice president Dick Cheney. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

8. "We begin bombing in five minutes." Before a 1984 radio broadcast, then-President Ronald Reagan joked about attacking Russia.

4:05 p.m. update: A reader passes along another suggestion: 

9. "Talking down to black people." Using crude language near a Fox News microphone during the 2008 campaign, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson criticized comments made by then-Sen. Obama and suggested he wanted to castrate the presidential contender.

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Chris Cillizza | September 24, 2013