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The Most Unforgettable Lies From Prominent Americans

Huffington Post     First Posted: 09/03/10 04:46 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 06:35 PM ET

Glenn Beck may have been caught lying, but he's far from the first American to do so.

Plenty of prominent people in American history have stretched the truth at one time or another. Sometimes the "untruth" is minor; others its effects are wide-reaching.

Here are some of the most memorable cases involving well-known Americans. Vote on those you think was the worst and be sure to submit those we've missed!

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  • Richard Nixon

    In an unforgettable attempt to vindicate himself of any wrongdoing in the Watergate scandal in 1973, then-President Richard Nixon <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1859513_1859526_1859514,00.html" target="_hplink">said</a>, "I am not a crook."

  • Bill O'Reilly

    <a href="http://crooksandliars.com/2008/06/27/who-needs-a-lousy-peabody-anyway-bill-oreilly-doesnt-really" target="_hplink">Per Crooks and Liars</a>: <blockquote>Bill O'Reilly has a checkered history with the Peabody Awards. For years, he claimed that his work on Inside Edition garnered two Peabodys, until he was outed by nemesis Al Franken as having confused the Polk Awards (won after O'Reilly was no longer with Inside Edition) with the more prestigious Peabodys.</blockquote>

  • Bill Clinton

    "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1998/12/98/review_of_98/themes/208715.stm" target="_hplink">said</a> then-President Bill Clinton in 1998, attempting to dispel accusations of infidelity with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

  • John Edwards

    The New York Daily News <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/01/22/2010-01-22_he_makes_tiger_woods_look_like_an_amateur.html" target="_hplink">reported</a> earlier this year: <blockquote>John Edwards is certainly not the first pol to get caught in a sex scandal - but his mind-boggling string of lies may leave him looking like one of the most repulsive. ... The roller-coaster saga - featuring countless denials of adultery, and another man's claim he had fathered the child of Edwards' paramour - is "obviously a very extreme case," says Robert Feldman, a University of Massachusetts psychology professor and an expert on lying.</blockquote>

  • Sarah Palin

    CNN <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/14/palin-tweaks-stump-speech-for-different-audiences/" target="_hplink">reported</a> in 2008: <blockquote>Palin also gave a pair of modified stump speeches during her recent Welcome Home tour through Alaska that failed to mention the notorious Gravina Island Bridge, subject of her usual applause line on the campaign trail that “I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for that Bridge to Nowhere." The Alaska governor routinely cites her opposition to the bridge on the trail to reinforce her reformer reputation, but fact-check groups and the Obama campaign have noted out that Palin supported building the bridge before she came out against it. Earlier: Palin <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/09/palin-stays-firm-on-bridge-to-nowhere-claim/" target="_hplink">stays firm</a> on Bridge to Nowhere claim; Obama camp <a href="http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/08/obama-campaign-calls-mccain-ad-a-lie/" target="_hplink">calls bridge claim</a> a 'lie'</blockquote>

  • John McCain

    In 2010, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) insisted that never in his political career has he supported providing amnesty to illegal immigrants; however, in 2005, McCain, alongside the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, co-sponsored a bipartisan <a href="http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:s1033is.txt.pdf" target="_hplink">immigration bill</a> that would have paved a road to amnesty for immigrants present in the country illegally. Factcheck.org, a non-partisan organization of the University of Pennsylvania, <a href="http://www.factcheck.org/test-marketing_the_amnesty_issue.html" target="_hplink">reports</a>: <blockquote>That bill (<a href="http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:s1033is.txt.pdf" target="_hplink">S 1033</a>) would allow people who are in the United States illegally to apply for a temporary worker visa after paying a $1,000 fine. Eventually they could gain permanent residence status after paying another $1,000 fine and working in the United States for six years under the temporary visa.</blockquote>

  • Hillary Clinton

    The New York Times <a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/clinton-misspoke-about-bosnia-trip-campaign-says/" target="_hplink">reported</a> during the 2008 presidential campaign: <blockquote>The Clinton campaign says Senator Hillary Clinton may have “misspoke” recently when she said she had to evade sniper fire when she was visiting Bosnia in 1996 as first lady. She has been using the episode as an example of her foreign policy bona fides.</blockquote>

  • Donald Rumsfeld

    From a <a href="http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2185" target="_hplink">transcript</a> of then-Secretary of State Rumsfeld on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," talking about the the the Iraq invasion and location of WMDs, courtesy of www.defense.gov. <blockquote>It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. </blockquote> Despite the broad parameters set for the "known" location of weapons of mass destruction, they were never found.

  • Bernie Madoff

    HowStuffWorks <a href="http://history.howstuffworks.com/american-history/10-biggest-lies-in-history3.htm" target="_hplink">reports</a>: <blockquote>When Bernie Madoff admitted that his investment firm was "just one big lie," it was an understatement [source: <a href="http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm?parent=american-history/10-biggest-lies-in-history.htm&url=http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=6838492&page=1" target="_hplink">Esposito</a>]. In 2008, he confessed to having conned about $50 billion from investors who trusted him with their savings. Madoff used the f ormula of a <a href="http://money.howstuffworks.com/ponzi-scheme.htm" target="_hplink">Ponzi scheme</a> to keep up the fraud for more than a decade. This classic lie is named after the notorious Charles Ponzi, who used the ploy in the early 20th century. It works like this: A schemer promises investors great returns, but instead of investing the <a href="http://money.howstuffworks.com/currency.htm" target="_hplink">money</a>, he keeps some for himself and uses the funds from new investments to pay off earlier investors.</blockquote>

  • Pete Rose

    <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/439441-roger-clemens-indicted-the-10-worst-lies-in-mlb-history#page/11" target="_hplink">Per the Bleacher Report:</a> <blockquote>The man spent 15 years telling everyone and anyone who would listen that yes, he gambled, but he never bet on baseball games. Finally, in his 2004 book "My Prison Without Bars", Rose admits to having gambled on the sport, though he says he never bet against his own team.</blockquote>

  • Jayson Blair

    During his tenure as a <em>New York Times</em> reporter, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayson_Blair" target="_hplink">Jayson Blair</a> came under heavy criticism for journalistic controversies ranging from plagiarism to outright fabrication. He left the paper in 2003 amid scandal.

  • James Frey

    James Frey was blasted by the media -- and most famously Oprah Winfrey -- after <em>The Smoking Gun</em> released a <a href="http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/million-little-lies" target="_hplink">devastating exposé</a> uncovering numerous fictional creations in his smash-hit "memoir," <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Million_Little_Pieces" target="_hplink"><em>A Million Little Pieces</em></a>.

  • Glenn Beck

    <blockquote>After being called on a white lie he told during his Restoring Honor rally, Glenn Beck admitted Thursday that he stretched the truth because he "thought it would be a little easier." Beck had claimed that he held George Washington's handwritten first Inaugural Address in his hands at the National Archives, but a spokeswoman at the institution <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/03/glenn-beck-admits-lying-i_n_704958.html" target="_hplink">said he did no such thing</a>. Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and others <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/02/olbermann-beck-caught-lyi_n_703197.html" target="_hplink">called him out for the fabrication.</a> Thursday on his radio show, Beck copped to the lie.</blockquote>

  • Read My Lips, No New Taxes

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/glykou"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/glykou">glykou</a>:<br />"That pledge was the centerpiece of Bush's acceptance address, written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, for his party's nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention. It was a strong, decisive, bold statement, and you don't need a history degree to see where this is going. As presidents sometimes must, Bush raised taxes. His words were used against him by then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in a devastating attack ad during the 1992 presidential campaign."

  • Kennedy's missile gap lie

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Fang1944"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Fang1944">Fang1944</a>:<br />Kennedy campaigned against Nixon, claiming that there was a missile gap between us and Russia. There was, but it was in our favor.

  • Andrew Jackson's "Savage Indians"

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Artemis_Strong"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/547095627/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Artemis_Strong">Artemis Strong</a>:<br />In his 1829 State of the Union address, Jackson claimed that "the Indians in general, receding farther and farther to the west, have retained their savage habits." Which is strange, since Jackson was a well-heeled frontier lawyer, and knew as well as anyone who had constant contact with the Native Americans that the Indians were far from savage.

  • Jan Brewer

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/FunctioningBrain"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/FunctioningBrain">FunctioningBrain</a>:<br />After claiming her father died fighting Nazis, it's discovered he lost his life to lung cancer 10 years after the war ended.

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