24 Mar 2011

Unguarded moments: from jackass to bigots

Nick Clegg is not the first politician to forget the microphone is listening in. From Obama to Charles, Bush to Brown – Channel 4 News rounds up a few of the classic in a gaffes gallery.

Prince Charles blundered way back in 2005 when at a photo shoot with his sons Harry and William he was caught mumbling unkind comments under his breath to the very man interviewing him, BBC Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.

The royals were posing at Klosters in Switzerland and in between photos Witchell asked him about his feelings to his wedding with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Under his breath Charles was heard to mutter to his sons:

“These bloody people. I can’t bear that man. I mean, he’s so awful he really is.”

The BBC strongly defended their reporter saying he was of their finest.

George Bush

During the American presidential election in 2000 George W Bush, governor of Texas at the time, was caught on film calling a New York Times reporter a “major league asshole”.

Standing on a podium of cheering fans, Bush tells the future vice president Dick Cheney that Adam Clymer – a long-time reporter for New York Times, that he though Clymer was a “There’s a Adam Clymer, major league asshole, from the New York Times”.

Cheney appears to agree saying “Yeah, big time.”

Cheney later defended Bush saying they were comments made to him in private.

Barack Obama

More recently President Barack Obama was caught calling Kanye West a “Jackass” whilst preparing for an interview in America in September 2009.

Obama was relaxing talking about West’s performance on the MTV Video Music Awards when he interrupted Taylor Swift. When asked by someone why West would do it, Obama replies “He’s a jackass.”

As the film crew chuckles and Obama realises he is being recorded he looks around says “Come on guys, cut the President some slack.”

Gordon Brown speaking to Gillian Duffy, before calling her a bigot (Reuters)

Gordon Brown

Finally, the politically calamitous gaffe by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the last election: Bigotgate

Gordon Brown hardly did himself any favours in the popularity stakes by getting caught on mic calling Gillian Duffy, a long time Labour-voting member of the public he had just spoken to, a “bigot”.

Brown’s pain was further deepened when a recording of the moment was played back to him shortly after whilst he was live on air on a radio talk show.

Brown turned penitent sinner and returned to Duffy’s home and apologised saying he was mortified by what had happened and the she had accepted his apology.