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Top Quotes from the 2012 Presidential Election

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on stage at the foreign policy presidential debate. October 22, 2012.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on stage at the foreign policy presidential debate. October 22, 2012. Photo by Irina Lagunina, courtesy of Voice of America, PD.

It’s the last day of the year. To celebrate, we decided to recap what we think are the top quotes from the 2012 presidential election. Wishing all our readers the best for a peaceful and prosperous 2013.

Top Candidate Quotes:

1. Mitt Romney, speaking to donors during a private fundraising dinner:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.

2. Barack Obama, ‘You didn’t build that’ comment that was used effectively by Republicans (unedited):

There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.

3. Mitt Romney’s comment on women during a presidential debate that set the Internet ablaze with memes galore. Referring to his time as Massachusetts governor:

I had the chance to pull together a cabinet, and all the applicants seemed to be men. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.

4. Mitt Romney on what he would cut in spending during the first presidential debate:

What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I'll get rid of it. Obamacare's on my list. ... I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That's number one.

5. Barack Obama to Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate:

I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours so it doesn’t take as long.

6. Barack Obama’s snarky response to Mitt Romney on military spending during the presidential debate on Foreign Policy:

You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have ships going underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of battleship where we’re counting ships but what our capabilities are.

7. Barack Obama’s other snarky response to Mitt Romney during the Foreign Policy debate:

Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaeda is a threat because a few months ago when you asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia – not Al Qaeda – you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling and asking for their foreign policy back.

Top Surrogate Quotes:

1. Vice President Joe Biden’s bumper sticker quote at the Democratic National Convention (and during campaign stumps) that summed up Obama’s reelection:

Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.

2. Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s gaffe that may have tied Romney’s hands in the general election after conservatives pounced on the remarks:

Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.

3. Clint Eastwood, talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention:

What do you want me to tell Romney? I can’t tell him to do that. I can’t tell him to do that to himself. You’re crazy. You’re absolutely crazy. You’re getting as bad as Biden.

4. Bill Clinton winning over audiences during his speech at the Democratic National Convention:

Now, people ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic…

President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families and our nation. It’s a heck of a lot better. It passes the arithmetic test, and far more important, it passes the values test.  

5. Pennsylvania Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai on aiding Romney’s victory:

Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

6. House Speaker John Boehner, quoted by Roll Call in July 2012:

The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney.

7. Rick Santorum speaking to Tea Party activists in Michigan:

President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob!

8. Sarah Palin to the Weekly Standard in September 2012:

With so much at stake in this election, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should ‘go rogue.’

What was your favorite political line of the 2012 election?

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