It's every public figure's nightmare. You lean over to make an off-handed remark, and the entire world ends up eavesdropping. It's the curse of the open microphone, and it's haunted its fair share of U.S. presidents.
From President Obama's not-so-secret conversation about missile defense with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to former President George W. Bush's insult about a reporter, here's a look at some the hot mic missteps that have plagued America's leaders.
|Romney's 'Inelegant' Remarks Caught on Tape|
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was caught by an open mic in the form of a hidden camera at a $50,000 per plate fundraiser in Florida.
The event took place in May, but video of him speaking at the closed-door fundraiser leaked in September, 50 days before the presidential election. The remarks made by Romney, which he later called "inelegant" showed him saying that "no matter what" he does, 47 percent of the population is going to vote for Obama because they are "are dependent upon government."
Clips of the fundraiser - it is still not clear who filmed or leaked them - were published by Mother Jones, a left-leaning, nonprofit news organization. They show Romney telling big wig donors the 47 percent of Americans who oppose him are people who are "dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax."
Apparently 90 minutes of closed-door conversation was not quite enough for Obama to get his message across to Russian President Medvedev.
As reporters were being ushered into the room following the leaders' meeting in Seoul, South Korea, this week, Obama's request for "space" on missile defense issues was accidentally transmitted to the press corps.
"On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space," Obama said quietly, but audibly to Medvedev.
"Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…" the Russian president responded.
Then Obama said: "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."
"I understand," Medvedev said. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir."
Obama's likely general election rival Mitt Romney quickly jumped on the remarks, which he called "troubling" and "alarming."
"This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people and not telling us what he's intending to do," Romney told supporters in California Monday.
Twitter also took hold of the exchange, injecting 140-chartacters of satire into Medvedev's promise that he "will transmit this information to Vladimir" and making "Vladimir" a trending top in the United States.
"I will retweet this tweet to Vladimir," one tweeter wrote.
"I will whisper this sweet nothing to Vladimir," another joked.
Less than five months ago Obama found himself in a similarly embarrassing open mic controversy with another top foreign diplomat.
At November's G-20 Summit in France, a private conversation between Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was accidentally broadcast to reporters when the pair's microphone was switched on too early for an upcoming event.