1. “You’re not a member of the Taliban, are you?” — Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense
While taking questions at an event at the University of Nebraska on Wednesday, Hagel asked an Indian man if he was a member of the Taliban before the man asked his question. The man, Robin Gandhi, is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska. Video of the exchange can be found here.
2. “I love this quote. It’s from Mahatma Gandhi. He ran a gas station down in St. Louis for a couple of years. Mr. Gandhi, do you still go to the gas station? A lot of wisdom comes out of that gas station” — Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State
During a 2006 fundraiser in St. Louis, Clinton joked prior to reading a quote by Mahatma Gandhi that he used to run a gas station in the city. She later apologized for her remarks, saying they were a “lame attempt at humor.”
3. “In about 18 months from now, hopefully [state Sen. Vincent Sheheen] will have sent Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from and this country can move forward.” — Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian
At a state Democratic party event in May of 2013, Harpootlian attacked the ethnicity of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose parents are Indian immigrants. After his comments ignited a fire storm, he claimed that he meant she should go back to Lexington County, S.C., where she used to live. He later claimed that he meant she should go back to being an accountant.
Harpootlian, who resigned just days after his remarks, had previously compared Haley to Adolf Hitler’s mistress. When asked whether he would apologize about the Nazi comments, he said, “Hell no. This is fake. Nikki Haley is feigning this.”
4. “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking!” — Joe Biden, Vice President
Biden’s remarks to an Indian-American supporter in were captured by C-SPAN at a campaign event on June 17, 2006.
5. “I mean you’ve got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy.” — Joe Biden, Vice President
During a 2007 interview with New York Observer reporter Jason Horowitz, Biden offered his thoughts on Barack Obama, his opponent at the time for the Democratic nomination for the White House.
6. “[Harry Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as a Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American with ‘no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.'” — Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, as quoted in the book Game Change
Reid’s comments were first reported in early 2010 in the book Game Change by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Reid later apologized for his remarks.