6. Dan Quayle apparently does know how to spell “potato.”
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Cwh / ASSOCIATED PRESS / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed
In June 1992, then-Vice-President Quayle moderated a spelling bee at an elementary school in Trenton, New Jersey. He read the word “potato” from a flash card to12-year-old Willian Figueroa, who was then to write the word on a chalk board. Figueroa wrote it correctly, but for whatever reason, the card Quayle had been given said “potatoe.” (Or so he says.) So, Quayle told the kid he’d spelled it wrong and had him go back and add an “e” to the end of the word. No one intervened. (Which: holy shit, can you imagine what the adults in the room must have been thinking at that moment?!) At the press conference afterward, a reporter asked Quayle how to spell potato and everyone laughed.
The story got picked up by the local newspaper, which ran with the front-page headline “Dan Can’t Spell Potato” and a comment from Figueroa in which he said “‘the rumors about the vice president are true — that he’s an idiot.” (Which, again: holy shit! But in 2004, Figueroa told the New York Times that the quote was inaccurate, so IDEK.) The story made the national news and Figueroa became low-key famous for 15 minutes, making $8,000 in endorsements following the incident. (Figueroa ALSO told the Times that he regrets not making more money from the incident. Say it with me now: HOLY SHIT!) Meanwhile, Quayle never lived it down and devoted an entire chapter to the incident in his 1994 memoir, writing, “It was more than a gaffe. It was a ‘defining moment’ of the worst imaginable kind. I can’t overstate how discouraging and exasperating the whole event was.”
Let’s call the whole thing off.