Awkward Political Moments

Sometimes politics isn't all about shakin' hands and kissin' babies.

36 photos
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A member of the U.S. Coast Guard fell over during a welcome ceremony for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on the South Lawn of the White House... but hardly anyone noticed. Does that make it better or worse?
Thomas Freismuth II
President Barack Obama contemplates life without a lower lip.
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Note to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): We're sure you want people to listen to you... but do you really need to fake a halo to convince them?
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Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird is wondering whether Hillary Clinton's washed her hands recently.
Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) really wanted to celebrate with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) before signing the legislation repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in December 2010.
King Abdullah II of Jordan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently have a terrible communicable disease. Perhaps chicken pox? We can't get close enough to tell. The media -- and everyone else -- keeps its distance.
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates witness a terribly awkward lack of photo cropping when it comes to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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President Obama tries to impersonate a reindeer.
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We're sorry, Michelle, but it looks like Mizan Law Group for Human Rights Executive Director Eva Abu Halaweh just would rather be friends with Hillary. Stop trying so hard.
NBC 5 News
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is pretending that fellow Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen isn't trying to give him a hug. Just keep pretending, Marco...
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U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been in politics a long time. You'd think he'd know the microphones are supposed to be near his mouth by now.
There's no crying in Congress! Speaker of the House John Boehner wipes his eyes as outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks before handing over the gavel.
NBC 5 News
No, no, President Obama, look at the thing French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pointing at, not at the finger he's pointing with!
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U.S. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) sits with his grandson during a roll call vote on the election of the next Speaker of the House, Jan 5, 2011. Or, as it's also apparently known, boooooring!
NBC Connecticut
Memo to Jesse Jackson: That's not how to shake the president's hand.
Eyes straight ahead! We wonder what White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was looking at down there.
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Little-known fact: Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, also auditioned for "Home Alone." Here, he testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee.
Jodi Hernandez
Note to Nancy Pelosi: Fist bumps only work if the intended recipient of said fist bump sees your hand.
Jodi Hernandez
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) holds up one of his crutches as he arrives for the signing ceremony of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. ...Think he's in it for personal reasons?
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The first rule of Capitol Hill: Don't try to hold the president's hand during a photo op.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
The second rule of Capitol Hill: Don't pick your nose in front of the president.
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
The third rule of Capitol Hill: Don't stare lovingly at the president while he's kissing Nancy Pelosi.
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From the files of awkward moments in drinking history, Army Gen. David Petraeus realizes that's a microphone in front of him and not a straw.
President Obama has to do a little maneuvering to presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Joseph Medicine Crow during ceremonies at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009.
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Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge considers the odds on whether Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) washed their hands after a bathroom break.
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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon looks away as Sen. John Kerry prepares to unleash a snot rocket toward Senate Republicans.
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U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) aren't sure about Sen. Harry Reid's newfound use of spiritual meditation whenever he gets freaked out by health care opponents.
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Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) needs to adjust himself after an awkward advance by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" proves to be too much for Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), who requires the assistance of a child at a Capitol Hill reading event.
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John McCain ... well ... yeah.
Top Gun/Hotel del Coronado
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet imagines what it would be like to re-enact McCain's move during a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Alex Matthews
First lady Michelle Obama has Queen Elizabeth's back. All well and good, execept that's considered a no-no among British royalty.
President Obama throws the flag on some illegal touching in France.
Alex Matthews
No one needs to see Al Gore's passionate embraces in a public forum.
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President George W. Bush improves relations with turkey.
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