In a campaign mishap that’s driving the U.K. election news today, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was caught on tape insulting a disabled widow from whom he’d taken questions on crime and immigration — “She’s just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour” — while not realizing he had a Sky News mic pinned to his shirt.
That’s not even the worst part: In his attempt at an apology, Brown managed to blame the incident on the staffer who allowed the woman to approach him:
Of course I apologise if I’ve said anything that’s been offensive and I would never put myself in a position where I would want to say anything like that about a woman I’d met.
I blame myself for what is done, but you’ve got to remember that this was me being helpful to the broadcasters, with my microphone on, rushing into the car because I had to get to another appointment and they have chosen to play my private conversation. These things can happen, I apologise profusely to the lady concerned.
An English opinion writer said: “How not to campaign: insult voter, blame aide, fail to apologise properly.”