"Marriage is what marriage is. Marriage was around before government said what it was. It's like going out and saying, 'That tree is a car.' Well, the tree's not a car. A tree's a tree. Marriage is marriage.
"It's like handing up this and saying this glass of water is a glass of beer. Well you can call it a glass of beer, it's not a glass of beer, it's a glass of water. And water is what water is. Marriage is what marriage is.
"I can call this napkin a paper towel, but it is a napkin. Why? Because it is, what it is."
-- Santorum on the definition of marriage in 2011.
It's hard to pick a single quote from Bachmann's library of anti-gay, anti-science, anti-fact quotes, so we'll leave you with an oldie but goodie -- her 2009 House floor argument against climate change.
"Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that's on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that -- that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth."
“Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival. It’s responsible behavior, and it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that.”
-- LaPierre in a Daily Caller op-ed from February
Cruz has only been in the Senate for a few months, but already he's made a name for himself as an aggressive questioner with a flair for the dramatic.
After drawing some bipartisan backlash for his cross-examination of then-Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, The New Yorker dug up this Cruz quote from a speech in 2010:
"There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty [of Harvard Law School] when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government."
His camp later stood by the comment.
"There is the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws. We don't owe the homeless. We don't owe feminists. We don't owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another. That's what civil rights has become for much of the left, they dropped the blacks after five minutes. ... Civil rights are for blacks."
-- Coulter on ABC's "This Week," September 2012
In 2011, then-GOP presidential candidate Perry gave his thoughts on the age of the Earth and evolution:
"How old do I think the Earth is? You know what, I don't have any idea. ... I know it's pretty old so it goes back a long long way. I'm not sure anybody actually knows completely and absolutely how long, how old the Earth is," Perry said in response to a question, before transitioning to a followup query on evolution. "It's a theory that's out there, and it's got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution because I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."
Ousted Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) has an extensive catalogue of quotes to pick from, but this one about his own House colleagues' supposed communist ties stands out from the crowd.
"I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus," West said last year.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump in one of his many attempts to promote his birther conspiracy about President Barack Obama:
"He may have one, but there is something on that birth certificate. Maybe religion. Maybe it says he's a Muslim. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or he may not have one. I will tell you this: if he wasn't born in this country, it's one of the great scams of all time."
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. ... All right -- there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
-- Then-GOP presidential candidate Romney in a hidden camera video released last year. The comments are thought to have contributed heavily to Romney's eventual electoral defeat last November.
Palin on then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008:
“This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America. We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. If we can be that beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy and can live in a country that would allow intolerance in the equal rights that again our military men and women fight for and die for for all of us. Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country?”
Another CPAC all-star with a long list of material to choose from, Gohmert has saved some of his most controversial rhetoric to explain mass shootings. Over the summer, Gohmert suggested a massacre at a Colorado movie theater was the result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs."
"You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of terror like this takes place ... We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country. ... People say ... where was God in all of this? We've threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God's name, they're going to be jailed ... I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don't want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present."
Gohmert went on to suggest that if theater-goers had been equipped with firearms, they could have stopped the attack. In the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December, Gohmert similarly suggested that more guns in the elementary school could have limited the loss of life.
In 2012, King compared immigrants to dogs. Via Salon:
“You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest … not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner.”
King went on to suggest that lazy immigrants should be avoided like the sleeping dog. “You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet,” King said. “We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.”
"I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7, that's Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11, and that's the day of the terrorist attack. I want you to remember August 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates."
-- Kelly at a press conference in 2012, denouncing the implementation of an Obamacare mandate that required insurers to offer contraception coverage.
Cuccinelli, who is currently running for Virginia governor, has a long history of controversial comments stemming from his strong opposition to gay rights and abortion, as well as climate change denial.
In 2009, he made the following comment when asked about a college policy of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that. ... They don’t comport with natural law. I happen to think that it represents (to put it politely; I need my thesaurus to be polite) behavior that is not healthy to an individual and in aggregate is not healthy to society.”
He later told public universities directly that they couldn't adopt measures to prevent anti-gay discrimination, sparking a long and still-ongoing battle on the issue.
"Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that 'as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.' My point is, God's still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."
-- Inhofe explaining that the Bible backs his book's claim that climate change is "the greatest hoax."
Schlafly denying the existence of marital rape in 2008:
"I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it."
Schlafly then proceeded to suggest that feminists might mount false rape accusations against their husbands in order to fight marriage disputes.
In 2011, Lee laid out his case for why anti-child labor laws should be unconstitutional:
"Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law -- no more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting -- that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned -- that's something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress. [...]
"This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh. Not because we like harshness for the sake of harshness, but because we like a clean division of power, so that everybody understands whose job it is to regulate what."
In 2012, conservative author and director of anti-Obama conspiracy film "2016: Obama's America" Dinesh D'Souza became embroiled in a scandal after allegations that he was engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a woman who was not his wife. Just days before the controversy led him to resign his post as president of the evangelical Christian King's College, D'Souza had attacked Obama for mounting a campaign to chip away at "traditional values":
"Why is Obama on the social issues -- and I'm thinking here of abortion, I'm thinking here of gay marriage -- why is Obama so aggressive in attacking the traditional values agenda? I think the reason for it is because when Obama thinks about colonialism ... [it] is identified not just with the soldiers but also with the missionaries. Remember it's the missionaries that went alongside the conquerors, the conquistadors, came to the Americas and worked on converting the Indians and later missionaries went to China, India and Japan. So I think this is the problem, Obama doesn't like traditional Christianity because he identifies it with colonialism. Obama's own Christianity is more of a Third World liberation theology, a very different kind of Jeremiah Wright type philosophy, summarized in the idea that America is the rogue nation in the world."
"It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history. It will rekindle the whole question on why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact Romney’s going to win by quite a bit."
-- Morris on Fox News just days before the election, explaining his prediction that Romney would win 325 Electoral College votes on his way to a landslide. Romney ultimately won 206 votes on his way to a handy defeat.
Just days after assuming his position on Capitol Hill, Salmon said it was "about time" to have another government shutdown, citing the federal stoppage of 1995:
"I think it drove Bill Clinton in a different direction, a very bipartisan direction," Salmon said. "In fact, we passed welfare reform for the first time ever, and we cut the welfare ranks in the last decade and a half by over 50 percent. These are good things. We also balanced the budget for the first time in 40 years in 1997, 1998, 1999. And when I left, we had over a $230 billion surplus."
"She lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself."
-- Sensenbrenner on First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011.
At a town hall in 2010, then-candidate Pearce faced questions about the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate. The congressman made it clear that he was willing to entertain the birther conspiracy.
"You bet. Let's take it backwards first. My position is that Barack Obama raised the most significant questions himself. He said, after he came to the U.S., that he traveled to Pakistan. Now at the point that he traveled to Pakistan it was not legal to go there with a U.S. passport. And so he, himself, raised the greatest questions. I think that those questions need to be asked.
"Now, then, my question would be to you all at what importance, what importance? You can typically fight two or three major battles in a year, major, and for me, if we don't get our economy going, nothing else works. ... I'm content to let the courts handle that and it's my understanding the Supreme Court is actually looking at this question because I think it's an important question. But I absolutely believe that Barack Obama raises the most significant questions himself."
Right Wing Watch recently recalled Fitton's latest effort to push his theory that radical Muslims are infiltrating the government's ranks at the highest levels:
"In a recent interview with End Times radio host Rick Wiles, he argued that the State Department is recruiting people directly from 'the jihadist movement here in the United States' and 'terrorist front organizations,' adding that the majority of Muslim-American groups are 'all fronts for these terrorist front groups.'"
Goeglein current serves as vice president of external relations for the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family. He resigned from a prior job as an aide to President George W. Bush after a report showed that he'd repeatedly plagiarized material for columns he wrote for a local paper.
He spoke at a CPAC panel last year, where he accused Obama of launching a frontal assault on religious values:
"We can very easily summarize and conclude the following: That in the history of the United States, and therefore in the history of the United States presidency, we have never had a president of the United States who has more radically but more intentionally savaged and attacked man-woman marriage, the dignity and sanctity of every human life, and now ... has begun to actually systemically redefine and therefore attack our basic religious liberties and individual consciences."