The 2012 election season, from the wacky Republican primary to the contentious presidential debates, has been filled with plenty of twists and turns. Here is a countdown of the ten of the most notable, bizarre and entertaining moments of the election season (Part I—numbers 6-10):
10. “Anyone but Mitt”:
Throughout the primary season the Republican base remained disillusioned with Mitt Romney’s lack of a personal narrative, history of flip-flops and promotion of “Romneycare.” A ridiculous number of contenders--Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich all burst onto the scene as the potential “Anti-Mitt,” but the biggest surprise of all was former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who pulled off a last-minute winning surge in Iowa, spoke out on controversial social issues, and put the sweater-vest in style again.
9. 9-9-9: Rise of the Hermanator:
Who ever would have thought a former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza would be leading in the polls, but that’s exactly what happened after Herman Cain shook up the GOP race with his “9-9-9” tax plan (with nine percent rates applying to personal income tax, business tax and national sales tax). Jon Huntsman thought it was a pizza deal, and Congresswoman Bachmann was sure to chime in that “when you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil’s in the details.” Alas, despite his brilliant advertising gem in the video above, Cain’s campaign was derailed by an alleged affair, marking one of the biggest rises and flameouts of the primary season.
8. West Virginian Angst:
Not all the primary action was on the GOP side. President Obama had his hands full in the West Virginia Democratic Primary, squeaking out 59% of the vote. His challenger, you ask? That would be Texas resident Keith Judd, who claimed the other 41%. Mr. Judd is federal inmate who is currently serving a 17-year term — just not in the White House.
7. Huntsman’s Mandarin Moment:
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman never got any traction in the GOP primary. After finishing third in New Hampshire, where he had invested most of his resources, his hopes of winning were sunk. But Mr. Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, may have provided a first for a GOP debate when he began speaking in Mandarin Chinese. With Governor Romney talking tough on China, Huntsman rebutted in Mandarin “Ta butai liaojie zhege qingxing," or “he doesn't seem to understand the situation.” Huntsman’s response came off as contrived, but it certainly added a new twist to the anything-but-normal GOP debates.
6. VP Debate — Joe Steals the Show:
Joe had a tough task ahead of him. After the President’s dismal first debate (more on that later), Vice President Biden needed to energize the base and swing the momentum against a young, enthusiastic Paul Ryan. Biden polarized the debate with zinger after zinger from, “that’s a bunch of stuff,” to “that’s a bunch of malarkey,” to “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” And who can forget the signature Biden smile—or smirk—depending on your rooting interesting. Biden needed to be aggressive to put some energy back into the Democratic Party and he delivered, providing several made-for-TV moments along the way.
And that wraps up part I of the top-10 notable, bizarre, and entertaining moments of the election season. Stay tuned for part II, featuring tax returns, empty chairs, and . . . uh . . . what’s the third one?