From F-Bombs to Insults, Politicians Have a History of Open Mic Candor

PHOTO: US President Barack Obama, and Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, laugh as they walk during a welcoming ceremony upon Obama's arrival at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 20, 2013.
Ariel Schalit/AP

It's every public figure's nightmare. You lean over to make an off-handed private 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.

Here's a look at some the hot mic missteps that have plagued America's leaders.

VIDEO: The president makes a joke at airport during first visit to Israel since taking office.
ABCNEWS.com
Obama Takes Jabs at Congress While In Israel

President Barack Obama was welcomed in Israel with a sigh of relief at being out of Washington and away from Congress.

While watching a military honor guard at the Tel Aviv airport with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, President Obama took a jab at lawmakers back home.

"It's good to get away from Congress," Obama said during a tarmac greeting on his first trip to the country as president.

The quip provoked laughter from Netanyahu and a suggestion that the two could patronize a few bars in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu's response may have been a reference to an interview that Obama gave in early March when he said he had a fantasy of disguising himself and going to an Israeli bar.

"Sometimes I have this fantasy that I can put on a disguise, wear a fake mustache and I can wander through Tel Aviv and go to a bar and have a conversation," Obama said.

The lighthearted moment came during a serious time for Israel as addresses the Syrian civil war and a stalemate over talks of an Iranian nuclear program.

The president said that he would use his visit to reassure Israeli leaders that he is committed to protecting Israel's security, especially when it comes to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

"I see this visit as an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between our nations," Obama said. "To restate America's unwavering commitment to Israel's security and to speak directly to the people of Israel and to your neighbors."

VIDEO: Matthew Dowd discusses the Republican candidates' comments at a closed-door fundraiser.
ABCNEWS.com
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."

VIDEO: Obama tells Russian president he'll have more flexibility after his election.
ABCNEWS.com

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.

VIDEO: Pa. governor says Homeland Security pick Janet Napolitano 'has no life.'
ABC News
Oops! Ed Rendell's Mic Mistake

2008: Pennsylvania governor says Janet Napolitano, President-elect Obama's pick for Homeland Security chief, "has no life."

VIDEO: President Bush makes an offhand remark about N.Y. Times reporter Adam Clymer.
ABC News
Bush Curses Reporter at Rally

2000: Presidential candidate George W. Bush makes an offhand remark about N.Y. Times reporter Adam Clymer at a campaign event in Naperville, Ill.

VIDEO: President Bush uses an expletive while talking to Tony Blair at G-8 Summit.
ABC News
Bush's G-8 F-Bomb

2006: President Bush uses an expletive while talking to Tony Blair at the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

VIDEO: Sen. John Kerry blasts Republicans as 'liars' while campaigning against Bush.
ABC News
Kerry's 'Crooked' Mistake

2004: Sen. John Kerry blasts Republicans as "liars" while campaigning against President Bush.

PHOTO: Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Joe Biden's 'Big F-ing Deal'

2010: The vice president congratulates President Obama with an f-bomb.

VIDEO: Prime Minister Gordon Brown is caught calling an elderly woman 'bigoted.'
ABC News
Gordon Brown Caught Calling Woman 'Bigoted'

2010: Prime Minister Gordon Brown is caught calling an elderly woman "bigoted."

VIDEO: A hot mic shows Carly Fiorina mocking opponent Sen. Barbara Boxer, Meg Whitman.
ABC News
Oops! Politician Mocks Rival's Hair

2010: A hot mic shows Carly Fiorina mocking opponent Sen. Barbara Boxer, Meg Whitman.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Share
Copy
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Salvager Eric Schmitt was combing through the wreckage of a convoy of Spanish ships that sank off the coast of Florida in 1715 when he discovered a missing piece from a gold Pyx.
Courtesy 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC
Lisa Kudrow
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library | Getty Images
PHOTO: Motorists were startled when an axe from a dump truck in front of them flew at their windshield.
Massachusetts State Police/Facebook
PHOTO: In this April 26, 2013 photo, a large home intended for the family of Warren Jeffs is seen in Hildale, Utah.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP