A RANGE OF political, economic and PR gaffes have been made across a wide spectrum of public figures in 2011, ranging from the Department of Finance’s €3.6 billion “accounting error” to Charlie Sheen’s revealing tweet to Justin Bieber.
We also had British MPs disposing of constituency material in public bins, the leaking of Irish Budget documents through the German parliament, and some ‘choice’ comments by Silvio Berlusconi about Angela Merkel.
Check out our round-up of the most memorable gaffes of 2011:
- A range of pre-Budget 2012 documents prepared by the Irish government were circulated amongst members of the German parliament – before the government made the official announcement to the Irish public. Among the leaks emerging from the documents and later confirmed in the official Budget announcement were the 2 per cent VAT increase and motor tax increases.
- The Department of Finance recently confirmed that it had ‘found’ €3.6 billion in the public accounts after it emerged that a payment of that amount between the National Treasury Management Agency and the Housing Finance Agency was accidentally counted twice. Sadly, the CSO said that discovery of the error did not mean that the state was either better or worse off than before.
- Independent TDs Mick Wallace, Shane Ross and Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan came under fire in July after being caught on mic in the Dáil discussing the appearance of Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor, whom Wallace referred to as “Miss Piggy” (at 1.11):
(Video via suzybie)
- Following a stellar year of social media use, actor Charlie Sheen accidentally tweeted his personal phone number to 5.5 million followers while attempting to send pop star Justin Bieber a private message. Apparently Sheen’s phone was swamped with calls following the mis-tweet. The number was quickly disconnected.
- In what may have been a similar slip-up, a message from the British government minister Chris Huhne was tweeted in October which read: “From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story. C” His office initially claimed the tweet was the result of his account being hacked, but later retracted that statement, saying it the circumstances of the tweet were unclear.
- Not one but two British MPs apologised earlier this year after being caught separately disposing of constituency papers in the bin. Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable apologised after it emerged official correspondence was left outside his office in Richmond and Twickenham for recycling. Just weeks earlier, cabinet minister Oliver Letwin apologised after being photographed dumping documents in a public park bin.
- US politician Michele Bachmann launched her campaign to secure the Republican Party’s nomination for next year’s US presidential election in June while visiting Waterloo, Iowa. She hit the headlines however for confusing former Waterloo resident John Wayne Gacy (the serial killer and rapist executed in 1994) with John Wayne (the actor):
(Video via BachmannLovesGacy)
- Bachmann wasn’t the only Republican candidate to commit an uncomfortable gaffe in 2011. In the following video, her rival and the governor of Texas Rick Perry forgets which government agency he’s planning to abolish if he becomes president (from 1min):
(Video via bizbuzzz2000)
- Meanwhile, a third Republican candidate Herman Cain (who recently suspended his campaign) had difficulty working out if he agreed with Obama’s policies on Libya – while appearing uncertain as to what those policies were:
(Video via JSOnline Channel)
- Mayor of Naas Darren Scully resigned in November after he made controversial remarks about African immigrants. Scully said that he would not longer deal with representations from African immigrants because he found them aggressive and “quick to play the race card”. He later apologised, saying he later realised the remarks were “open to an interpretation that I did not intend” and that he abhors racism “in all its forms”.
- Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy accidentally broadcast their feelings about the Israeli prime minister to a room full of journalists when they were inadvertently caught having a private conversation on a live microphone. ”I cannot stand him, he is a liar,” Sarkozy said of Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama replied: “You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.”
- Italian newspapers reported in September that then-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was overheard referring to Germany’s Angela Merkel as an “unf***able lard-a**e”. However, it was Berlusconi who apparently called for an apology from Merkel when she and Nicolas Sarkozy were caught on camera laughing after being asked about their faith in Berlusconi’s leadership:
(Video via EUXTV)
Did we leave out any of this year’s gaffes by public figures? Add your suggestions to the comments below.