Ignorant Politicans

Gaffes, lies, and dumb mistakes—which politicians spread falsehoods? From Palin to Bachmann to Biden, The Daily Beast ranks the country’s 10 most ill-informed leaders.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Alex Wong / Getty Images

1, Michele Bachmann, R-MN

U.S. Representative

Total checked statements: 19

True: 0

Mostly true: 0

Half true: 2

Barely true: 3

False: 8

Pants on fire: 6


Egregious falsehood: In the '70s, "the swine flu broke out... under another Democrat, President Jimmy Carter."
politifact.com

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

2, Michael Steele

Former RNC Chairman

Total checked statements: 8

True: 4

Mostly true: 0

Half true: 1

Barely true: 0

False: 1

Pants on fire: 2


Egregious falsehood: "You and I know that in the history of mankind and womankind, government—federal, state, local, or otherwise—has never created one job."— politifact.com

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

3, Howard Dean

Former DNC Chairman

Total checked statements: 6

True: 1

Mostly true: 1

Half true: 1

Barely true: 0

False: 3

Pants on fire: 0


Egregious falsehood: "Every other democracy in the world has a health-care system that covers everybody, and we don't."— politifact.com

AP Photo

4, Sarah Palin

Former Republican Governor, Alaska

Total checked statements: 45

True: 10

Mostly true: 6

Half true: 7

Barely true: 6

False: 12

Pants on fire: 4


Egregious falsehood: The disabled and seniors "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."— politifact.com

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

5, Paul Ryan, R-WI

U.S. Representative

Total checked statements: 7

True: 1

Mostly true: 0

Half true: 2

Barely true: 3

False: 0

Pants on fire: 1


Egregious falsehood: Regarding the collective-bargaining debate in Wisconsin, Ryan claimed the disagreements had led to "riots"... "It's like Cairo has moved to Madison these days."— politifact.com

Charles Dharapak / AP Photo

6, Nancy Pelosi, D-CA

House Minority Leader

Total checked statements: 14

True: 1

Mostly true: 2

Half true: 6

Barely true: 2

False: 2

Pants on fire: 1


Egregious falsehood: "We were not, I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used."— politifact.com

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

7, Harry Reid, D-NV

Senate Majority Leader

Total checked statements: 10

True: 2

Mostly true: 1

Half true: 3

Barely true: 1

False: 3

Pants on fire: 0


Egregious falsehood: "We have solved the problem.... Scientists are now saying leave the nuclear waste where it is."— politifact.com

Chuck Burton / AP Photo

8, Mitch McConnell, R-KY

Senate Minority Leader

Total checked statements: 10

True: 2

Mostly true: 2

Half true: 2

Barely true: 1

False: 3

Pants on fire: 0


Egregious falsehood: Updated financial regulation "actually guarantees future bailouts of Wall Street banks."— politifact.com

Tom Williams / Roll Call / Getty Images

9, John Boehner, R-OH

Speaker of the House

Total checked statements: 37

True: 14

Mostly true: 3

Half true: 3

Barely true: 5

False: 12

Pants on fire: 0


Egregious falsehood: "This is the first time since the Depression that unemployment has stayed above 9 percent for two consecutive years."— politifact.com

AP Photo

10, Joe Biden

Vice President

Total checked statements: 44

True: 10

Mostly true: 8

Half true: 10

Barely true: 8

False: 5

Pants on fire: 3


Egregious falsehood: "In the 1990s, the Biden Crime Bill added 100,000 cops to America's streets. As a result, murder and violent-crime rates went down eight years in a row."— politifact.com

See the ranking methodology here.