Brown’s disaster and the top 10 biggest microphone gaffes
The British Prime Minister’s description of a voter he had just met as a “bigot” when he thought the microphone was off has been described by London’s Daily Telegraph as “the most damaging off-mike remark in modern politics”. There is talk that it may have destroyed any chance he had at re-election.
It’s a disaster because it confirms some of the voters’ worst suspicions about Brown’s character: that his true personality is dour and cranky, that deep down he probably just doesn’t like people. Brown was forced to visit the woman - a Labour supporter - at her home to apologise. But it a catastrophic turn in a general election campaign in which Labour is already sliding in the polls.
The timing makes it all the more damaging, but how does it rate among the long list of political gaffes when people thought the mikes were off? Here’s Brown’s - watch him squirm as the tape is played back - along with nine more in no particular order. Let us know what you think in the comments - and add your suggestions.
Gordon Brown: “Bigoted woman” ... see above. The best part about this video is his reaction when the host says someone has just handed him the tape. “Let’s have a listen.”
Ronald Reagan: “We begin bombing in five minutes”, said as a joke before recording a radio address in 1984. The out-take was leaked and the Soviet army was placed on alert for a short time.
George W. Bush: “major league asshole” describing New York Times reporter Adam Clymer to running mate Dick Cheney at a rally.
Jesse Jackson wants to cut Barack Obama’s nuts off because he believed the then-presidential candidate was “talking down to black people”.
Tony Abbott: “That’s bullshit” after being told by then shadow health minister Nicola Roxon that he could have turned up on time to the Press Club
George W. Bush: “Yo Blair ... Russia’s big and so is China ... get Hezbollah to stop doing this s**t…” at a G8 leaders’ lunch.
Prince Charles: “Bloody people… I can’t bear that man” about the press and in particular about BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell - in front of the assembled press.
John Major: “Bastards” who he would “crucify” referring to disloyal members of his cabinet and party. No video of the actual quote but here’s one of the alleged bastards being asked about it.
Vladimir Putin: Jokes about rape allegations. No video for this one but the Russian PM is known for coarse remarks. Visiting Ehud Olmert in 2006 he said of Israeli president Moshe Katsav, who was facing allegations that he had raped women in his office: “Say hello to your president. He really surprised us…” and later said, ““We did not know he could deal with 10 women.”
Virginia Trioli: Barnaby Joyce crazy hands, as sometimes actions speak louder than off-mike words, and because it’s amusing.
What are we missing?
Joe Biden: “This is a big f***ing deal” to his boss Barack Obama upon the signing of the healthcare bill.
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RT @GrogsGamut: QUESTION: But in terms of that discussion though, is he misquoting you with that?TONY ABBOTT: You’ve had your say. http://t…
Of all the stupid stories I've written, and there have been plenty, this is definitely in the top 10 http://t.co/otUKnjq2C3
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