UPDATE: Via a spokesperson, Strickland apologized for the remark.

Politicians, when considering a joking aside about death and the Supreme Court — don't make a joking aside about death and the Supreme Court.

Case in point: While addressing supporters recently, Ohio Democratic Senate nominee Ted Strickland said the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia "happened at a good time."

The exchange with supporters was captured by NTK Network, a self-described "news aggregation" site, which published it Tuesday. It was quickly picked up by Republican political operatives in Washington. Because context is important in moments like these, here's the transcript of the whole comment.

“In three-and-a-half months we’ll make a decision about who occupies the executive branch, what party controls the Senate, and growing out of those two decisions will be the future of the United States Supreme Court. My friends, a lot of average citizens out there don’t understand the importance of that court. I mean, the death of Scalia saved labor from a terrible decision. And I don’t wish anyone ill, but, it happened at a good time! Because, once that decision had been made it would have been tough to reverse it. And so, everything that we care about — labor rights, voting rights, human rights, environmental policy — everything we care about will be at risk if a Donald Trump and a Republican Senate can refashion that Supreme Court.”

Strickland is a former governor of Ohio who is trying to unseat Sen. Rob Portman (R) in one of the nation's most competitive Senate races. (We have it ranked seventh out of the top 10 most likely to flip seats.) In other words, he's a veteran politician in a closely watched Senate race who should know better than to give Republicans an opportunity to send out a news release such as this one:

News of Strickland's oops comes less than 24 hours after another cautionary tale about mentioning anything remotely related to death and the Supreme Court in the same sentence. While at a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday, Donald Trump said "Second Amendment people" may be the only check on judicial appointments by a President Hillary Clinton.

That raised a lot of eyebrows in political circles about whether Trump was insinuating that his supporters take up arms against a future president. Trump said he was simply encouraging gun-rights supporters to be more politically active; a comment that doesn't make sense given he appeared to be talking about a reality in which Clinton was already president. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters on Tuesday that it sounded like "just a joke gone bad."

Here's Trump's comment, with a quick fact check from The Fix's Philip Bump in there:

“Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said. (That’s not true, even if you include the word “essentially.”) “And if she gets to pick...” he continued, “if she gets to pick her judges: Nothing you can do, folks.
“Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is,” he added. “I don’t know. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

Look, we get it. The open Supreme Court seat is something both sides want you riled up about this election cycle. The impact of who will serve on a divided court has the potential to outlast whoever will win in November.

But as we've seen just in the past 20 hours or so, politicians can use some pretty tricky rhetoric when talking about it. And they inevitably get themselves in trouble for it.