Top-five election campaign cock-ups

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An election campaign is a stressful time, especially if like Gordon Brown your job depends on it. So while the Prime Minister was busy in Rochdale doing David Cameron and Nick Clegg's jobs for them, we thought we'd trawl through the archives to see how previous campaign cock-ups played out at the ballot box.

2001 John Prescott: Labour’s John Prescott, punched local farmer Craig Evans in the jaw while campaigning in Wales for the 2001 election. Evans had launched an egg at Prescott’s face, instigating the flurry of blows thrown by the Deputy Prime Minister. The media jumped on the scuffle, making sure the incident overshadowed Labour’s manifesto launch day. Tony Blair explained: “ John is John.” Labour won the election. To watch, click here

1984 Ronald Reagan: In a sound check while preparing to make his weekly address on National Public Radio President Reagan joked: “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” It wasn’t broadcast live, but was later leaked to the public. Reagan won. To listen, click here

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2006 Silvio Berlusconi: Just days before the 2006 Italian elections, during a speech at the National Chamber for Trade, Berlusconi said that he has too high a regard for Italian intelligence to believe that there were so many ‘coglioni’ (literally "testicles", a vulgar term often used about people considered to be stupid) prepared to vote against their interests. He later apologized for the "rude but effective language". He won.

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1992 Neil Kinnock: At a Labour Party election broadcast the story of two little girls with ‘glue ear’ was told. One had to wait for treatment by the NHS (shown to highlight problem of under funding by the Tories), while the other went private and got treatment right away. The next day reports appeared claiming the broadcast was a fraud and they weren’t ‘real life’ cases. The Sun said: “If Kinnock will tell lies about a sick little girl, will he ever tell the truth about anything?” Kinnock lost and resigned soon afterwards.

2008 Barack Obama: While campaigning in Beaverton before the 2008 election Obama claimed he had been to "every corner of the United States – all 57 states", which is pretty impressive given there are only  50 states to visit. It didn’t prevent him from winning a historic victory. To watch, click here

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