Being in politics means having to say you're sorry

May 11, 2012 - 6:29 PM
Gay Marriage Biden

In this May 10, 2012, photo, Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking to students and educators about student loans during a White House Briefing on College Affordability in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington. After Joe Biden voiced his support for gay marriage ahead of President Barack Obama, there was only one thing for the vice president to do: apologize. Biden did that on Wednesday in the Oval Office. He apologized shortly before Obama sat for a hastily arranged interview in which he told the public he supported gay marriage. Biden had made similar comments on Sunday without permission from the White House. His remarks thrust gay marriage into the political spotlight and focused fresh attention on what Obama has called "evolving" views on gay marriage. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a sorry list. This week's apologies from Mitt Romney and Joe Biden are just the latest in a colorful history of politicians regretting personal lapses large and small. A few recent notables:

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MITT ROMNEY: The presumptive Republican nominee regretted a 1965 boarding school incident — he reportedly held down a classmate and cut his longish, bleached hair — while saying he doesn't remember it: "I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some may have gone too far. And for that I apologize."

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JOE BIDEN: The vice president is sorry for speaking out of turn in support of gay marriage. Biden upstaged President Barack Obama and upset White House planning — not cool for the No. 2. He offered Obama his mea culpa privately, according to aides.

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NEWT GINGRICH: His presidential bid just starting, Gingrich miffed fellow Republicans by calling Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal "right-wing social engineering." He soon regretted it: "I made a mistake and I called Paul Ryan today, who's a very close personal friend, and I said that."

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ANTHONY WEINER: He eventually resigned. But first the New York congressman tried getting by with just an apology for sending photos of his underwear-clad crotch to a young woman via Twitter: "My wife is a remarkable woman. She's not responsible for any of this. I apologize to her very deeply."

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JOHN EDWARDS: The former Democratic presidential candidate regretted spending two years denying that he'd fathered a daughter with his mistress: "It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. ... I am truly sorry."

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ROD BLAGOJEVICH: Facing sentencing for corruption, the former Illinois governor turned tearful: "I caused it all. I'm not blaming anybody. I was the governor, and I should have known better and I am just so incredibly sorry." The judge gave him 14 years.

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ELIOT SPITZER: The New York governor resigned amid reports he was a regular client of high-priced call girls: "The remorse I feel will always be with me."

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BILL CLINTON: After at first denying his sexual dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the president issued a string of apologies: "I'm having to become quite an expert in this business of asking for forgiveness."