'Mistakes were made' – When embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said "mistakes were clearly made" in addressing suggestions top aides orchestrated a politically motivated traffic fiasco last year he echoed the words of problem-plagued politicos of scandals past. The phrase, "Mistakes were made" creates the veneer of appearing contrite while carefully avoiding full blame.
'Mistakes were made' – President Ulysses S. Grant was perhaps the first to make use of the creative non-apology- apology when he acknowledged numerous scandals in his administration. "Mistakes have been made, as all can see," Grant said in a State of the Union address.
'Mistakes were made' – President Richard Nixon used the phrase liberally after leaving the White House when talking about Watergate. His chief spokesman, Ron Ziegler, also used the phrase in an apology of sorts to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for negative comments about them from the White House.
'Mistakes were made' – President Ronald Reagan said "mistakes were made" over the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked his second-term administration. The phrase also was used by Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, in discussing the scandal. Bush succeeded Reagan in the White House.
'Mistakes were made' – Barely one day into his second term, President Bill Clinton acknowledged that "mistakes were made" by his administration in inviting a banking regulator to policy meetings where high-profile bankers and a top fundraiser were present.
'Mistakes were made' – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who served under President George W. Bush, admitted that "mistakes were made" in the politically motivated firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
'Mistakes were made' – JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon used the well-worn "mistakes were made" phrase in describing the hefty bonuses banking executives received after their companies netted taxpayer-funded bailouts.
'Mistakes were made' – Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller wrote a USA Today op-ed piece last year on the controversy over IRS targeting conservative political groups. "Mistakes were made, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan motivation," he said.