4 of The Worst Presidential Debate Gaffes Ever

How high are the stakes in tonight's Democratic 2020 debate? Just ask these 4 candidates who would probably wish they could forget these embarrassing presidential debate gaffes. 😂

Counting down the top 4 biggest gaffes in presidential debate history.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads the Department of Energy—the agency Perry wanted to abolish but infamously forgot to name during a 2011 presidential debate. “It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone—Commerce, Education and the, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said during a Republican presidential debate in November 2011. As Perry stumbled to think of the answer, Mitt Romney chimed in to suggest the Environmental Protection Agency, while Ron Paul suggested he actually meant to cut five agencies. “But you can’t name the third one?” CNBC moderator John Harwood asked. He later identified the Department of Energy as the agency he had been trying to name.

A question on the high rate of HIV infection among African American teens triggered the sprightliest exchange when Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware said: "I spent last summer going through the black sections of my town, holding rallies in parks, trying to get black men to understand it is not unmanly to wear a condom, getting women to understand they can say no, getting people in the position where testing matters. I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS." At that, Obama shot Biden a you've-got-to-be-kidding glance. A television camera caught the Rev. Al Sharpton in the audience looking appalled. (That January, Biden nearly derailed his campaign by referring to Obama as the first "clean" and "articulate" African American to seek the presidency.) When the laughter died down and it was his turn to speak, Obama countered: "I want to make clear, I got tested with Michelle
. I don't want any confusion here about what's going on." Obama and his wife, Michelle, both took HIV tests on a visit last year to Kenya, a gesture meant to show there was no stigma in being screened for the virus.

President George H. W. Bush on what he was thinking as he checked his wristwatch on camera in the midst of a 1992 presidential debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. It was the telltale sign of a man made uneasy—or, at least, bored—by an audience member's question about how a deep recession had personally affected him. The then president's display of impatience seemed to speak volumes more than his awkward response. "Of course, you feel it when you're president of the United States; that's why I'm trying to do something about it," Bush said after he'd checked the watch and straightened his suit jacket, "by stimulating the export, vesting more, better education system."

In the Second Presidential Debate 2012: Romney and Obama sparred over when the president referred to Libya attack as terrorism. "I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror."

Obama infamously replied "Get the transcript."