Politicians' best microphone gaffes
Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama are the latest politicians embarrassed by a microphone picking up more than it should
It is the politician's ultimate nightmare: the rude aside meant only for the ears of a colleague or aide caught on an open microphone and broadcast to the assembled press pack. Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama have become the latest high-profile victims of the genre when they were heard discussing the merits of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in a supposedly private moment at the G20 summit in Cannes last week. "I cannot stand him. He's a liar," Sarkozy told Obama. The US president responded by saying: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."
They were not the first and they won't be the last. Below is a selection of some of those other open mic horror moments.
George Bush: "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times." September 2000
Live microphones picked up this remark from the Republican presidential candidate whispering to his running mate, Dick Cheney, during a campaign speech in Illinois. He had just spotted a reporter who had written negative stories about him.
In response, Clymer said he was "disappointed in the governor's language".
Prince Charles: "These bloody people. I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is." March 2005
The prince shared his irritation about the BBC reporter Nicholas Witchell with his sons William and Harry during a photo call at a Swiss ski resort.
Witchell had been asking about Charles's forthcoming wedding to Camilla.
The prince's communication secretary said: "He doesn't have contempt for the media. A few paparazzi yesterday got the holiday off to a bad start.
"I think the prince was a little bit upset about that."
George Bush: "You see the irony is what they need to do is get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's all over." July 2006
Having greeted the British prime minister with a "Yo, Blair" at the G8 conference in Russia, Bush went on to criticise Hezbollah's attacks on Israel.
Jesse Jackson: "See, Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith based … I wanna cut his nuts off. Barack … he's talking down to black people." July 2008
Just before going live on air on Fox News, the Rev Jesse Jackson blurted out what he really felt about Barack Obama. In a Father's Day speech, the then Democratic presidential candidate had chastised black fathers for shirking their responsibilities.
Gordon Brown: "That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? Ridiculous." Asked what she had said, he replied: "Everything, she was just a bigoted woman." April 2010
During the election campaign, Gordon Brown was heckled by Gillian Duffy, a 65-year-old pensioner from Rochdale, about the economy and immigration. Brown was talked into meeting her for a quick exchange, and Duffy had left happy with the encounter.
Back in his car, Brown made his "bigoted" comment while still wired to the Sky News microphone and it became one the big stories of the election.
He later visited Duffy to apologise.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Politicians' best microphone gaffes | Politics | The Guardian