"I never considered myself a maverick."
—John McCain, rejecting the label on which he campaigned for the presidency in 2008 (Newsweek)
2. VP Says It Plain
"This is a big f___ing deal."
—Joe Biden, Vice President, accidentally expressing to President Obama excessive enthusiasm for passage of the health care bill, in front of a hot mike at the White House's signing ceremony (CNN)
3. Hayward "Apologizes"
"I'd like my life back."
—Tony Hayward, then BP CEO, apologizing for this summer's oil spill, the worst in American history, while also infamously saying that "no one wants this over more than I do" (Think Progress)
4. George Bush Really Cares About Kanye West
"It was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency."
—George W. Bush, recalling how rapper Kanye West — disappointed with the government's handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster — said during a national telethon that "George Bush doesn't care about black people" (NBC)
5. A Papal Apology
"The greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sin within the church."
—Pope Benedict XVI, offering one of the Catholic Church's strongest statements of fault in its widespread child-sex-abuse scandal (The Christian Post)
6. An Exasperated Obama
"I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead."
—Barack Obama, addressing rumors that he was not born in the U.S. An August TIME poll showed that, despite evidence to the contrary, nearly one-quarter of Americans believe the President is a Muslim (NBC)
7. Don't Put Your Hands on Me
"If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested."
—John Tyner, a software engineer, during a videotaped argument with a TSA agent over the necessity of a physical pat-down at the San Diego airport; the footage, which went viral, sparked a debate over new screening methods (AP)
8. Hawking Shocks with Predictable Statement
"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the Universe going."
—Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist, in his book The Grand Design. Hawking told TIME in November, "God is the name people give to the reason we are here. But I think that reason is the laws of physics rather than someone with whom one can have a personal relationship. An impersonal God." (The Grand Design)
9. Make Up Your Mind Already!
"Play, don't play. Goddamn, people are getting sick of it. I'm getting sick of it!"
—Bus Cook, agent for NFL football player Brett Favre, after learning that Favre, 41, was once again dragging out his decision on whether to return to the game; Favre did return to play for a second season with the Minnesota Vikings (Men's Journal)
10. Putin's Just Sayin'
"You will be beaten upside the head with a truncheon. And that's it."
—Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister, threatening antigovernment dissidents who continued to hold unauthorized rallies in Moscow despite the Kremlin's routine denial of permission for them to assemble legally (AP)