Even in a time of meticulously scripted speeches, talking points and social media posts, candidates sometimes screw up.

Some missteps are mere blips in the news cycle. But other gaffes stand out.

Democrats, who faced an uphill fight in the midterm elections due to an unfavorable Senate map, seemed to commit more major mistakes than Republicans this year.

Here are the top 10 gaffes of 2014 in chronological order.


Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyThe Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP MORE (D-Iowa): Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Treasury announces efforts to help people get stimulus payments | Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury | Judge sets ground rules for release of Trump taxes Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury Finance Committee vote on Yellen nomination scheduled for Friday MORE (R-Iowa) is just a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”

A leaked video showed Braley, the Democratic Senate candidate, disparaging Grassley before a group of Texas trial lawyers at a fundraiser. Grassley was set to head the Senate Judiciary Committee if the GOP won a majority, as subsequently happened.

“If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said. “Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee." Braley later apologized to Grassley, but the remarks haunted his campaign until the very end.



Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick Portman planned exit sets off Ohio free-for-all Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick MORE: Bill and I were "dead broke."

Clinton made the wrong kind of headlines while kicking off her book tour. "You have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton said in a June interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education." Opponents accused Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, of being out of touch, especially given that she collects millions of dollars in speaking fees. Clinton later conceded the comment was "inartful."


Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom line Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Hyde-Smith fends off challenge from Espy in Mississippi MORE (R-Miss.): “What happened in Virginia?”

Cochran appeared not to have heard about the biggest political upset of the year — the defeat of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in his primary — when questioned about it in a June Fox News Channel interview. When asked if he was worried the same thing could happen to him in the primary runoff against his conservative challenger Chris McDaniel, Cochran replied, "I don't know what you're talking about. What happened in Virginia?" 


Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes Window quickly closing for big coronavirus deal Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback MORE (R-Kan.): Not in Kansas anymore

Roberts had already been facing criticism for reports that he no longer lived in his home in Kansas and instead rented a room from donors. In a July interview with KCMO Radio in Kansas City, Roberts appeared to suffer a slip of the tongue when asked about his infrequent returns home. “Every time I get an opponent – I mean, every time I get a chance, I’m home," Roberts said. "I don’t measure my, what, my record with regards as a senator as how many times I sleep wherever it is." Roberts's primary opponent, radiologist Milton Wolf, called the comment a "slap in the face to Kansans."


Vice President Biden: “These shylocks

During a speech to the Legal Services Corp. in September, Vice President Biden described how his son, Beau, provided soldiers returning from war with legal assistance. "People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being — I mean, these shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas,” Biden said. The Anti-Defamation League, a top Jewish group, denounced the term "shylocks" as offensive. Shylock is the name of the Jewish villain in Shakespeare's “The Merchant of Venice.” Biden, no stranger to gaffes, later said he used a "poor choice of words."


President Obama: “These policies are on the ballot.”

Vulnerable Democrats, trying to distance themselves from President Obama in advance of the midterms, cringed at his remarks less than a month from Election Day. “I am not on the ballot this fall,” Obama said at a rally. “But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot.” Obama doubled-down in a later interview with the Rev. Al Sharpton. He said that the Democrats highlighting disagreements with him in fact were “strong allies and supporters” who “vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress.”


Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaAmanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance A Day in Photos: The Biden Inauguration Scorned and mistreated, Melania Trump deserved much better from the media MORE: “Bruce Bailey”  

First lady Michelle Obama repeatedly bungled the Iowa Democratic Senate candidate's name at an October rally. She referred to Braley as "Bruce Bailey" multiple times during her appearance. Later that month, Obama returned to campaign again for Braley and made a point of getting his name right. "Although I may have slipped up on Bruce's name a couple times, what I know I got right are Bruce's values," the first lady said.


Alison Lundergan Grimes’s secret ballot

The Kentucky Democratic Senate nominee may have done herself more harm than good by refusing to say if she voted for President Obama in the 2012 presidential election. “This is a matter of principle. Our Constitution grants here in Kentucky the constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box,” Grimes said. However, she was willing to say that she voted for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential primary and called herself a “Clinton Democrat through and through.”


Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.): Dead air on Ebola

Pryor ran an ad accusing his Senate opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), of voting against legislation to help protect the U.S. against viral outbreaks. But Pryor, one of the most vulnerable Democrats of the cycle, didn't appear up to speed about the Obama administration's response during an interview with MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. When asked if he thought the administration was doing enough to respond, Pryor let out a long "Uh" before answering a full five seconds later, "I would say that it's hard to know because I haven't heard the latest briefing on that, to know all the details."


Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers A pandemic election should move America to address caregivers' struggles The Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring MORE (D-Iowa): “She is really attractive.”

Harkin, the retiring Iowa senator, got in trouble two days before the election for commenting on Senate Republican candidate Joni Ernst's attractiveness. "In this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads. And there’s sort of this sense that ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice.’ Well, I got to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good-looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa," Harkin said. Ernst said she was "very offended" by Harkin's comments. She then channeled one of Swift's recent hit singles by saying "We're gonna shake this off." Harkin later apologized.