From Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's crack smoking admission to President Barack Obama's selfie at Nelson Mandela's funeral, 2013 was full of viral political moments sure to be remembered for years to come.
Newsmax's The Wire has analyzed its web traffic from January to December 2013 and compiled a list of the top political stories, scandals, and gaffes that went viral and trended on mainstream media sites this year.
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We've included the best Photoshopped Twitter pictures, the most memorable video clips and headlines, and, of course, all the details of the most recent Anthony Weiner-gate.
1. Obamacare Memes
President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act website went live at the beginning of October, but the rollout didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Users attempting to sign up for health care instead experienced glitches with everything from simply logging on to navigating the site.
The problems made headlines, but it was the Obamacare Website Girl featured on HealthCare.gov's intro page that went viral
. The smiling woman was described by CNN as the "enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care" as pundits and newscasters pondered her identity and Twitter users and Facebookers Photoshopped her face and commented on her "ethnic" appearance, noting that she may not even be a U.S. citizen.
The woman eventually came forward and revealed her identity: She's a Colombian woman named Adriana who lives in Maryland with her husband and son. She was born in Colombia, but has a permanent green card and told ABC News that she's applying for full citizenship. Her photo was later taken down from the HealthCare.gov site after she publicly bashed the online "cyber bullies."
Pajama Boy was another Obamacare meme that went viral in December. The plaid onesie-clad twenty-something was seen in a tweet from Organizing for America, a Democratic group that pushes Obama's legislative causes, specifically Obamacare.
The Internet immediately bashed Pajama Boy, with Politico's Rich Lowry describing him as "an insufferable man–child
… wearing pajamas — a zip-up onesie in classic Lamar Alexander plaid — and drinking hot chocolate. He is in his twenties, sporting hipster glasses he could have bought at Warby Parker and an expression of self-satisfied ironic amusement."
Even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got in on the fun
with a mocking tweet of his own.
2. Marco Rubio's Water Sip
Marco Rubio, the junior U.S. senator from Florida, had his first big appearance in the political spotlight back in May when he delivered the Republican Party's response to Obama's State of the Union Address. But it was his signature water bottle grab
, not his remarks, that instantly went viral on social media.
Rubio handled his awkward fumbling light-heartedly ("God has a funny way of reminding us that we're human"), something that actually benefited him because it gave him a likeability factor Americans appreciated.
He also savvily turned an "oops" moment into a marketing tool for his political action committee. Rubio reportedly collected more than $100,000 through personalized water bottle sales.
3. Obama's Selfie and Other Noteworthy Nelson Mandela Funeral Blunders
Obama's behavior at former South African president Nelson Mandela's memorial service in early December made international headlines when the U.S. leader was seen snapping a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
But it was Michelle Obama's facial expression that really amused Twitter users. The first lady appeared to glare at the trio as they took the picture and later switched seats with her husband
, which the Internet took to mean she was not too happy with him acting silly with the blonde and smiling Thorning-Schmidt.
The sign language interpreter who appeared on stage alongside world leaders at Mandela's funeral also sparked a huge scandal. The deaf community was outraged and accused the man, Thamsanqa Jantjie, of signing gibberish.
Jantjie later said he was experiencing schizophrenic hallucinations
that caused him to lose concentration and sign nonsensically. A subsequent investigation revealed that the interpreter has a dark past and was even accused of being part of a mob that burned two people to death in 2003.
4. Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger
In July, two years after he resigned from Congress for sending racy pictures to women online, a new Anthony Weiner scandal broke. The then-New York City mayoral hopeful was accused of reportedly sending explicit sexual messages and photos to a 22-year-old woman under the pseudonym "Carlos Danger."
Despite public outrage and calls for him to resign from the mayoral race, Weiner continued campaigning but finished the primary with an abysmal 4.94 percent of the vote.
5. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
The title of most ridiculous politician of 2013 definitely goes to Rob Ford, Toronto's mayor who this year admitted to smoking crack cocaine, used vulgar language on live television, mowed down a female member of his council, and danced bizarrely to Bob Marley on the council floor, among other things — all while vowing not to step down as mayor.
6. Ted Cruz's Marathon Speech: 'Green Eggs and Ham'
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz covered an array of topics during his September marathon speech to support the defunding of Obamacare. The problem was that a lot of the things he discussed in his 21-hour, 19-minute-long address had nothing to do with the resolution he was pushing.
Besides reading the Dr. Seuss classic "Green Eggs and Ham" word-for-word
, here is a sampling of Cruz's most headline-worthy remarks:
"It is apparently very, very important to be invited to all the right cocktail parties in town. Now, I’ll confess: I don’t go to a whole lot of cocktail parties in town."
"I like their little burgers … I’m a big fan of eating White Castle burgers."
"I will credit my father, he invented … green eggs and ham. He did it two ways: The easy way was he would put green food coloring in. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ was my favorite book as a little boy. You can actually do it — the food coloring is a little-bit cheating. But if you take spinach and mix it into the eggs, the eggs turn green."
"The moon might be as intimidating as Obamacare."
7. Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un's Friendship
In February, ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman traveled to North Korea to shoot a basketball documentary for HBO and ended up with what he called a "friend for life" in dictator Kim Jong Un.
The unlikely pairing led to a number of weird headlines, like the time when Rodman claimed the FBI was hiring him as a North Korean informant. Or the time the eccentric athlete lamented about having to do Obama's job.
"Why it's been left to me to smooth things over, I don't know. Dennis Rodman, of all people. Keeping us safe is really not my job; it’s the black guy’s [Obama’s] job," he told Sports Illustrated in July
. "But I'll tell you this: If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong."
Even though North Korea released a string of propaganda videos this year depicting a missile attack on the United States, Rodman insisted that Jong Un is just a "kid" who has no interest in starting a nuclear war.
8. Donald Trump Bill Maher Birth Certificate Lawsuit
It started with what seemed like a friendly bet, but it soon spiraled out of control. In January, Bill Maher appeared on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" and expressed his disappointment with Donald Trump for pressuring Obama with a $5 million offer to release his birth certificate and college records.
Maher quipped that he would pay Trump $5 million to prove that he is not, as Maher put it, the spawn of a monkey. The real estate mogul followed through and submitted his birth certificate but Maher refused to pony up the money.
Trump then filed a $5 million lawsuit against Maher in February.
"He made an offer, I accepted the offer," Trump told news outlets at the time. "He didn’t say it was a joke [at the time]. We’re going to find out if it was a joke. The courts will tell."
Trump later withdrew the suit in April
9. Obama's Favorite Food Sparks Broccoligate
Who knew the president's food preference would go viral? When Obama confessed that he was a broccoli lover at July's White House Kids' State Dinner, the Internet called his bluff and so began a string of hilarious tweets and Photoshopped images.
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