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 TIME CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics with Congressional Quarterly

Oops! The top gaffes of Election '98

By Tamala M. Edwards

TIME magazine

California Republican Senate challenger MATT FONG (1) alienated two different groups of potential supporters, first by giving money to a religious anti-gay group and then by signing a pledge for the gay Log Cabin Republicans. Such waffling. Who does he think he is, the President?

In Michigan, the biggest headache for lawyer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate GEOFFREY FIEGER (2) wasn't his defense of Jack ("Dr. Death") Kevorkian. Instead he found himself under fire for calling Jesus a goofball and comparing Jewish leaders to the Nazis. Fieger's last ads had voters saying they didn't like him but would grudgingly vote for him. Few did.

It's one thing for a candidate to walk across a state to meet voters. Pro-environment Democratic Senate candidate DAVID OSTERBERG (3) decided to canoe across a state--in this case, Iowa. Most voters are mainstream, Dave, not midstream.

FAY BOOZMAN, an eye surgeon and Republican contender for the Senate in Arkansas, claimed that a fear-driven adrenaline rush keeps rape victims from getting pregnant. Guess someone slept through a semester in med school.

In California, Republican BOB DORNAN (4) ran against Representative Loretta Sanchez, claiming his antiabortion views made him the "only Latino in the race" and calling himself "Mr. Immigrant Man." Might have worked better if he hadn't wrongly blamed his 1996 loss on voter fraud by illegal aliens.

New York Senator AL D'AMATO (5) called his Jewish opponent, Representative Chuck Schumer, a "putzhead" in front of a group of Jews. It's unsure whether they took it in its Yiddish context (penis head) or as a modern slur (jerk), but one thing is clear: Senator Pothole's campaign collapsed into a big one.


Cover Date: November 16, 1998

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