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FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney points to President Barack Obama during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver in Denver. Millions of words have been spoken, shouted, whispered and wasted in the day-in, day-out grind that was the 2012 presidential campaign. Precious few of them will endure past Election Day. But a few caught people's attention long enough to bring a smile or provoke a head shake. Even Obama had to concede that he bombed in his first debate with Romney. The president tried to minimize the importance of the debate by dismissing it as an off night, but the event energized Republicans at a critical moment, just when they thought the race might be slipping away from them. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
‘Oops’ and beyond: Notable quotes from 2012 race
First Published Nov 01 2012 04:11 pm • Last Updated Nov 01 2012 04:11 pm

Washington • Millions of words have been spoken, shouted, whispered and wasted in the day-in, day-out grind that was the 2012 presidential campaign. Precious few of them will endure past Election Day.

But a few caught people’s attention long enough to bring a smile or provoke a head shake.

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Some conveyed a truth that the candidates would rather have left unspoken.

Others sent SWAT teams of fact-checkers scrambling.

A look back at some notable quotes from Campaign 2012:

ONE WORD SAYS IT ALL

"Oops."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was simply trying to shrug off his inability to remember the third government agency that he’d like to abolish when he uttered that one word during a GOP primary debate a year ago in Minnesota. But it pretty much summed up his whole short-lived campaign for president.

ETCH A SKETCHY

"I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."


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Sometimes it’s a campaign aide who reveals more than intended. In this case, Mitt Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom last March was trying to draw a distinction between the issues that hold sway in the presidential primaries and what happens in the general election. But his comment fed into the notion that Romney was the kind of candidate who would say anything to win votes in the primaries and then shift his stances to win votes in the general election. The little red Etch A Sketch soon became a popular campaign prop for Democrats.

NO CRYING IN POLITICS

"Don’t boo — vote."

President Barack Obama boiled down his turnout pitch to supporters with this oft-repeated rejoinder to fans starting to spout off against his opponent during campaign rallies.

AND HOW

"I had a bad night."

Even Obama had to concede that he bombed in his first debate with Mitt Romney. The president tried to minimize the importance of the debate by dismissing it as an off night, but the event energized Republicans at a critical moment, just when they thought the race might be slipping away from them.

THAT’S IRISH

"That’s a bunch of malarkey."

Leave it to Vice President Joe Biden to find a down-to-earth way of dismissing the foreign policy claims of GOP rival Paul Ryan in their October debate. Later in the same debate, he accused Ryan of saying "a bunch of stuff."

When the moderator asked what that meant, Ryan — like Biden, of Irish ancestry — helpfully explained: "That’s Irish."

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