This Day in Failure: July 8

2008: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain—who once sang, presumably in jest, about bombing Iran—reacts to a report of rising cigarette exports to the Islamic Republic by saying it's “a way of killing ’em.” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini later responds: “McCain’s crude remark on the indiscriminate killing of the Iranian nation not only testifies to his disturbed state of mind, but also to his warmongering approach to foreign policy.”

2008: The White House apologizes for an “unfortunate mistake” that makes front page headlines in Italy—the distribution of a less-than-flattering biography of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi at the Group of Eight summit in Japan. The biography describes Berlusconi—who U.S. President George W. Bush once characterized as a “good friend”—as one of the “most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice.” The biography alleges that Berlusconi burst onto the political scene with no experience and used his “vast network of media holdings” to finance his campaign on a promise to “purge the notoriously lackadaisical Italian government of corruption.” But it goes on to say that “he and his fellow Forza Italia Party leaders soon found themselves accused of the very corruption he had vowed to eradicate.”

2007: Tourist Paul Robinson, 53, of Kirkland, Washington, suffers a broken neck when an inebriated fan falls on him during the 8th inning of a Los Angeles Angels-New York Yankees game at Yankee Stadium.

2005: Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Nate Robertson is ejected from a game after just one pitch for throwing behind Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Apparently, Robertson was retaliating for Devil Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir hitting Placido Polanco with his first pitch.

1997: The Mayo Clinic and the U.S. government warn that the diet-drug combination known as fen-phen can cause serious heart and lung damage.

1871: New York City official William Boss Tweed’s corrupt government practices are exposed by the New York Times.