THEY SAID WHAT? A History Of The Most Absurd Political Promises

When it comes to politics, everyone expects a few crazy promises. Every time an election comes up, some wild promises are thrown around in order to gain votes. We’ve all heard about the need to build a wall, but what about our education system?

Certain politicians tried to keep their promises, while others reached a new level of craziness by blurting out promises that came out of nowhere.

Teddy Roosevelt Promises Not To Run Next Time

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There’s no denying that Roosevelt was a popular president, holding the spot as the 26th President from 1901 to 1909, but it was pretty shocking when he pledged not to seek office again. But, that didn’t stop him from running for a third term in 1912. He and William Howard Taft split the Republican Party.

Roosevelt wound up running as a Progressive, while Woodrow Wilson ended up taking the nomination.

Herbert Hoover Promised A Chicken In Every Pot

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Hoover’s 1928 campaign promises were run in newspaper advertisements across the nation. But think about this one promise for a moment. A chicken in every pot. Keep in mind, Hoover was president from 1929 to 1933, when the Great Depression was destroying the American economy and its people.

While Hoover’s promise may have helped him secure the presidency, he was heavily criticized during that time for the overall harshness of the Great Depression.

Warren G. Harding Wanted To Return To Normalcy

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The return to normalcy was a straight-up promise. It’s something candidates even today have dance around, but never actually say outright.

Typically, candidates like to look forward, but after WWI, all anybody wanted to do was go back to how things were before the war. Heck, he even promised to return to isolationism too. Harding would win in a landslide over James M. Cox, and was president from 1921 until his death in 1923.

Switching asphalt for sod was a real promise that seemed pretty farfetched.

Gabriel Green Promised To Eliminate Poverty With Credit Cards

In 1960, the “Space-Age” candidate promised that his presidency would usher in “The World of Tomorrow, and UTOPIA now.” Green would eliminate money by giving everyone a credit card. He also seemed to think he could offer Americans free health care and eliminate taxes.

However, Green withdrew his candidacy months before the election, conceding that “Not enough Americans have yet seen flying saucers to talk to outer space people to vote.”

Rodney Fertel Promised To Get A Gorilla For The New Orleans Zoo

In 1969, Fertel ran for mayor in New Orleans. Fertal was actually married to Ruth Fertel, who was the founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. His only goal was to bring a gorilla to the zoo. He called it his “Primate Platform.”

Fertel campaigned by standing on the streets, sometimes dressed in a gorilla suit, handing out miniature plastic gorillas to people who passed by. Ultimately, Fertal ended 10th in the election.

Hunter S. Thompson Promised To Sod The Streets Of Aspen

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Thompson’s 1970 campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County, CO, included a promise to jackhammer the streets of Aspen and replace the asphalt with sod. The city would use the unused asphalt to “create a huge parking and auto-garage lot on the outskirts of town.”

Of course, that never happened. The ability to think outside the box would serve Thompson well, as he would go on to be a famous author.

What’s one way to get people to vote for you? Adeline J. Geo-Karis has the secret to that just ahead.

Andy Caffrey Wanted To Light Up On The Steps Of The U.S. Capitol

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What really made the congressional candidate from San Francisco stand out was that he smoked legal medicinal pot on the campaign trail. He followed up with a promise to spark a joint on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

One of Caffrey’s issues was legalizing pot nationwide, and it’s been medically legal in the Bay area since 1996. Caffrey also stands for imposing changes to issues such as climate control, and is pushing for a greener America.

Jello Biafra Promised To Make Businessmen Wear Clown Suits

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The Dead Kennedy’s frontman promise came during his mayoral bid for San Francisco in 1980. What’s crazy is that 3.5 percent of the city’s electorate voted for him. Other commitments from Biafra included legalizing squatting, and making beat cops win a neighborhood vote of confidence to keep their jobs.

Biafra changed his tune a bit 30 years later when he said he was pro-taxes, as long as they went to serve the right things like fixing schools or helping the homeless.

Adeline Geo-Karis Promised To Lose 50 Pounds

In 1986, she ran as the Republican candidate for Comptroller of Illinois. If she won, she promised to drop 50 pounds. This, she said, would put her in a better position to go to different states and charm business and industry to come to the state of Illinois.

While the promise was made as a joke, it didn’t seem to land with voters. However, despite this setback, ‘Geo’ still served in the Illinois Senate for over 25 years.

Read ahead to see which politician wanted Bush in jail.

Rick Santorum Promised To Ban Adult Entertainment

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Rick Santorum went head-to-head with Mitt Romney to see who would run against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Santorum called for a ban specifically of hardcore adult entertainment, and stated that this entertainment could cause ‘profound brain changes.’

While these claims are yet to be proven, Santorum would eventually step aside despite leading Romney at a point during their campaigns. He would run again in 2016, but again stepped aside and endorsed Marco Rubio.

Dan Quayle Promised Best Educated American People In The World

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In 1988, Dan Quayle went as far as to promise the country that no other nation in the world will have better educated Americans. Senator Quayle would soon become a household name, much to the charging of Bush and the Republicans.

But, it didn’t take long for people to realize he was a terrible public speaker. For what it’s worth, according to a 2018 study, America ranked 27th in education.

Michael Dukakis Promised To Oppose The Death Penalty

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Dukakis’s stance on the death penalty in a 1988 debate cost him the election. In the debate against George H.W. Bush, moderator Bernard Shaw dropped the bombshell on Dukakis when he asked a hypothetical about if he would feel the same if his wife was murdered.

Dukakis’s response left many wanting more, and it sounded rather robotic as he explained that he would still oppose the death penalty despite the hypothetical situation.

Bills longer than three pages? It sounds weird, but one politician had a good reason for it. You’ll see why shortly.

Sarah Palin Promised To Be More Rogue


It was more of a pre-campaign promise. But, being more “rogue” was Palin’s plan, and perhaps her only selling point back in 2008. In the end, Palin went so rogue to the point where she didn’t even run.

That’s just about as nonconformist as you can get as a politician. Of course, Palin would go on to release a memoir in 2009 called Going Rogue: An American Life after running for Vice President alongside John McCain.

Dennis Kucinich Promised To Arrest Bush

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The former U.S. Representative of Ohio even applied that promise into his 2008 presidential campaign. In total, Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment into the U.S. House of Representatives.

In his address, he said: “Now the people in the administration of George Bush better remember their Miranda rights because when I’m elected president, I’m going to see that they are arrested. I’m not kidding here.” Ultimately, nothing was done after the hearing reached the Judiciary Committee.

Herman Cain’s Promise To Veto Bills Longer Than Three-Pages

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The candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party nomination had a very simple way to ensure people can better understand the issues they are voting on. His promises to veto any bill longer than three pages raised a very good point, even if it fell on mainly deaf ears.

Legislation often gets too confusing for anyone to understand. With a three-page bill, Cain said: “You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table.” He didn’t receive many votes.

Read ahead to see the former US President promise flying ticket counters.

Vermin Supreme Promised Ponies And An Economy Full of Them

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Despite Vermin making many bizarre promises, the promise to provide ponies to everyone might have been the most farfetched. On top of that, he wanted the United States to transition into a pony-based economy, which sounds nice in theory but might be hard to actually make happen.

As seen above, Supreme is known for wearing a boot on his head as a hat, so that could make it a little harder for his message to be taken seriously.

Alan Caruba Promised To End Boredom

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While running for president, the candidate had an unusual campaign promise that he was willing to run on. Caruba vowed to end boredom, and he wanted to make Vanna White the First Lady.

Caruba blamed the media for overexposing movies with no plot and celebrating celebrities who had little of anything worth talking about. The icing on the cake was that he wanted to try to hold a telethon to end national debt.

Barack Obama Promised Not To Call Mitt Romney Weird

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The Obama campaign was promising to play nice. And, while it wasn’t always nice, it was promising not to call Romney “weird,” which is very out-of-the-ordinary. Obama’s people had been making pretty good use for the word “weird,” in connection to their opponent during the 2012 election.

Anyone caught calling Romney “weird” was fired from the campaign. Romney caught attention from the nation thanks to his ties with the LDS church.

Newt Gingrich Promises A US Moon Colony By 2020

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Gingrich’s 2012 pledge to establish a US colony on the moon by the end of his second term in 2020 was ludicrous. It sounded like something from a book and not a promise that he could actually come through on.

The only moon promise that was actually followed through on came from JFK himself when the United States put a man on the moon by the end of the sixties.

George W. Bush Promised Flying Ticket Counters

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“I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport.” President Bush made this statement almost a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

While this wasn’t technically a broken promise, it was an awkwardly worded statement at a time when Americans, and everyone around the world, was still very wary of flying.