- “We are all Republicans – we are all federalists”, Thomas Jefferson‘s First Inaugural.
- “Our Federal Union. It must be preserved”, toast famously made by Andrew Jackson during a formal gala commemorating Thomas Jefferson’s birthday on April 13, 1830. The toast refers to the secessionist dispute that began during the Nullification Crisis and it became a slogan against nullification in the ensuing political affair.
- “Tippecanoe and Tyler too“, popular slogan for Whig party candidates William Henry Harrison and John Tyler in the 1840 U.S. Presidential election.
- “Show me the spot”, Abraham Lincoln challenging the alleged incident of invasion by Mexico and loss of life that precipitated the Mexican–American War.
- “A house divided against itself cannot stand.“, opening lines of Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1858 “A House Divided” speech, addressing the division between slave states and free states in the United States at the time.
- “Four score and seven years ago…”, opening of Abraham Lincoln‘s Gettysburg Address.
- “… government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”, ending of Abraham Lincoln‘s Gettysburg Address.
- “You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” William Jennings Bryan in 1896, expressing his opposition to the gold standard.
- “Speak softly, and carry a big stick“, Theodore Roosevelt‘s corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
- “Smoke-filled room“, used to describe the backroom at the Blackstone Hotel where senators gathered to secure Warren G. Harding‘s nomination during the 1920 Republican National Convention. The term now means a place behind the scenes, where cigar-smoking party bosses make political decisions.
- “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.“, from Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s first inaugural.
- “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.” said by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
- “I shall return.” U.S. General Douglas MacArthur after leaving the Philippines.
- “Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.” Eleanor Roosevelt to Harry Truman, upon learning Franklin Roosevelt had died.
- “The buck stops here“, paperweight on the desk of Harry Truman.
- “I like Ike“, campaign slogan for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- “Clean as a hound’s tooth”, the standard promised by Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 campaign, which gained attention when Richard Nixon, campaigning for vice president on the same ticket was accused of using campaign funds for personal use.
- “And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.” – famous line from the Checkers speech delivered by Richard Nixon.
- “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” infamous question asked by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the height of the Cold War.
- “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?“, Joseph N. Welch confronts Senator Joe McCarthy in the Army–McCarthy on June 9, 1954.
- “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”, part of the Inaugural address of John F. Kennedy.
- “Ich bin ein Berliner“, said by John F. Kennedy in West Berlin.
- “I know it when I see it“, used by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964).
- “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Said by Barry Goldwater in his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican National Convention.
- “Let me say this about that”, frequently said by President Richard Nixon.
- “Let me make one thing perfectly clear”, frequently said by President Richard Nixon.
- “Only Nixon could go to China“, saying that became popular in the wake of Richard Nixon‘s visit to the People’s Republic of China.
- “What did the President know and when did he know it?”, asked by Senator Howard Baker in the Senate Watergate hearings.
- “I’m not a crook“, said by Richard Nixon in reference to his never having profited through his government service. (Often misquoted as “I am not a crook.”)
- “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore”, said by Richard Nixon in 1962 when he announced his retirement from politics after losing the 1962 California Governor’s election.
- “Follow the money“, popularized by All The President’s Men, used in several contexts.
- “I’m a Ford, not a Lincoln”, said by Gerald Ford in his first speech as President.
- “Whip inflation now“, Gerald Ford‘s widely ridiculed speech to Congress October 8, 1974.
- “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Said by Richard Nixon during the Frost/Nixon interviews, about his alleged participation in the Watergate scandal cover-up.
- “Voodoo Economics”, a term used by George H. W. Bush in reference to President Ronald Reagan‘s economic policies, which came to be known as “Reaganomics“. Before President Bush became Reagan’s vice president, he viewed his eventual running mate’s economic policies less than favorably. Reagan was a proponent of supply-side economics, favoring reduced income and capital gains tax rates.
- “There you go again“, said by Ronald Reagan about Jimmy Carter during their 1980 presidential debate and was used by Reagan again about Walter Mondale in their 1984 Presidential debate. This quotation was also borrowed by Sarah Palin during the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate against Joe Biden.
- “Let’s make America great again!” Slogan from the Reagan campaign in 1980, also used in 1992 by Bill Clinton and in 2016 by Donald Trump.
- “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”, question posed by Ronald Reagan at the end of his debate with Jimmy Carter in 1980.
- “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”, said by Ronald Reagan referring to the “most terrifying words in the English language”.
- “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem”, said by Ronald Reagan.
- “I don’t want to exploit … my opponent’s youth and inexperience”, said by Ronald Reagan in the second debate with Walter Mondale, defusing the age issue.
- “It’s morning again in America“: Ronald Reagan, in reference to the recovering economy and the dominating performance by the U.S. athletes at the Los Angeles Olympics that summer, among other things.
- “Where’s the beef?“, said by presidential hopeful and former Democratic Vice President Walter Mondale, when attacking Colorado Senator Gary Hart in a 1984 Democratic primary debate. Mondale meant that Hart was only doing lip service. The phrase was derived from a popular television ad for Wendy’s hamburgers.
- “Trust, but verify“, used by Ronald Reagan when discussing relations with the Soviet Union.
- “Mistakes were made“, said by Ronald Reagan and many others, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
- “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!“, said by Ronald Reagan.
- “Oh, the vision thing“, said by George H. W. Bush, responding to concerns that his campaign lacked a unifying theme.
- “Read my lips: no new taxes“, said by George H. W. Bush during the 1988 U.S. presidential election. Bush raised taxes later in his presidency.
- Thousand points of light, first used by George H. W. Bush in his speech accepting the presidential nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention.
- “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Senator Dan Quayle in the 1988 Vice Presidential debate.
- “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” A bumper sticker slogan created by Morton Blackwell urging people to vote for Edwin Edwards over noted white supremacist David Duke in the 1991 Louisiana Governor’s election.
- “I’m Ross, and you’re the Boss”, said by Ross Perot during the 1992 presidential election.
- “That giant sucking sound“, said by Ross Perot in 1992 with regards to American jobs going to Mexico if the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) were ratified.
- “I didn’t inhale”, said by Bill Clinton regarding experimenting with marijuana while attending Oxford University.
- “It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush. Widely attributed to Clinton advisor James Carville. The phrase, although now almost always quoted in its current form, is actually an incorrect quotation: Carville’s original slogan, which he first wrote as part of a poster displayed in candidate Clinton’s campaign headquarters, was “The Economy, Stupid”, with no “It’s”.
- “I did not have sexual relations with that woman“, said by Bill Clinton regarding Monica Lewinsky.
- “Vast right-wing conspiracy“, used by Hillary Clinton in 1998 in defense of husband President Bill Clinton in reference to the Lewinsky scandal.
- “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Said by Bill Clinton during testimony regarding his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
- “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” said by Al Gore during a 1999 CNN interview, and often interpreted as “I invented the Internet.”
See also: Bushism
- “Fuzzy math“, initiated by George W. Bush, and used often by others since
- “Axis of evil“, first used by Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address
- “There are known knowns“, used by Donald Rumsfeld when discussing the invasion of Iraq.
- “Reality-based community“, attributed to a Bush administration official, widely believed to be Karl Rove
- “Yes, we can” used by Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign
- “The rent is too damn high“, a quotation and political platform of Jimmy McMillan in the 2010 New York governor’s race.
- “You didn’t build that“, used by Barack Obama referring to federal infrastructure and used by his opponent’s supporters to suggest that he meant there is no individual success in the United States. He “borrowed” the phrase from future Senator Elizabeth Warren.
- War on Women — Political slogan used by the American Democratic party in attacks from 2010 onward.
- “Binders full of women“, a phrase used by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential debates. Though intended as a supportive comment about resolving the gender pay gap, it had the opposite effect among many voters and was frequently ridiculed.
- “Make America Great Again“, campaign slogan for Donald Trump, which had already been used by Ronald Reagan in 1980.
- “Basket of deplorables“, a phrase used by Hillary Clinton to describe some of Donald Trump’s supporters. The phrase was embraced by many Trump supporters.
- “Drain the Swamp“, used by many politicians, including Ronald Reagan, Nancy Pelosi, and Donald Trump.
- “Such a nasty woman“, said by Donald Trump during the final presidential debate between him and Hillary Clinton. The phrase was embraced by some women voters and has also launched a feminist movement by the same name.
- “Alternative facts“, a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview in January 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer‘s false statement about the attendance at Donald Trump‘s inauguration as President of the United States.
- Fake news.
- “Nevertheless, she persisted“, used by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to describe Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts insistence on reading a letter from Coretta Scott King into the congressional record during a debate on confirmation of then Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General of the United States. The letter outlined opposition to Senator Sessions’ confirmation for a federal judgeship in 1980s.
- “Covfefe“, an unintentional spelling error by President Donald Trump that was tweeted out; he had possibly meant to say coverage.
- The “Jimmy Kimmel test“, a political litmus test created by Senator Bill Cassidy in reference to a pre-existing condition affecting Jimmy Kimmel’s infant son, which measures a health care law by whether it would deny medical coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions because it was unaffordable.
- “Reclaiming my time”, used by Maxine Waters.
- “Working for the Clampdown”, used by Congressman Beto O’Rourke to describe Ted Cruz during the 2018 United States Senate election in Texas. O’Rourke is referencing the song Clampdown by punk-rock band The Clash.