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The race for the Republican presidential nomination has proved a godsend for the nation’s comedians and all of us in need of some good dinner party banter. As the year comes to the close, it is time to recall some of the gems of the campaign season. You decide whether to laugh or cry.

1. Rick Perry Counts to Three

You know it’s bad when there’s no doubt you’ll be the subject of SNL’s cold open. Rick Perry boldly declared he would immediately eliminate three administrative agencies and then failed to be able to name agency number three. Oops.

2. Herman Cain on Libya

Asked whether he agreed with Obama’s handling of the situation in Libya, Herman Cain struggled at length to get to a point where it sounded like he maybe half knew what he was talking about. In no way did he appear like a person you’d want at the other end of that hypothetical “3 a.m. call.”

3. Gingrich, the “Civilizer” got its hands on some alarmingly self-aggrandizing doodles by Newt Gingrich in which he describes his “primary mission” as a central force of civilization, namely “advocate of civilization, definer of civilization, teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who form civilization, organizer of the pro-civilization activists, leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces.” If he didn’t give you the creeps before, he just may now.

4. Romney’s Bad Bet

Since casually betting 10 grand isn’t the best way to build rapport with everyday workers, the DNC is eating up Mitt Romney’s wagering $10,000 against Rick Perry’s claim that Romney changed his book to conceal his support for a national health care plan. Romney dug his own grave by framing his response to Perry’s challenge in terms of a bet. As the Washington Post opinion columnist Kathleen Parker suggested, it is hard to think of a dollar amount that wouldn’t have come under fire. Considering Romney’s wealth, offering less may not have conveyed strong enough conviction, and offering the standard “I bet you a million dollars” would have brought about the same attack of his being out of touch. Lesson learned: If you’re a rich political candidate, don’t say anything that will remind people about it. 

5. Bachmann’s Hometown Hero

We can only hope that Rep. Michele Bachman (R-Minn.) had the wrong guy in mind when she said  “John Wayne was from Waterloo,” and “that’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.” The problem? The John Wayne that hails from Waterloo is not the legendary all-American cowboy star, but John Wayne Gracy, a notorious serial killer. Just her luck.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons