|Obama Jokes in Israel, 'Away from Congress'|
|By AMY BINGHAM and JILIAN FAMA||Mar 20, 2013, 3:03 PM|
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.
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."
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.
2008: Pennsylvania governor says Janet Napolitano, President-elect Obama's pick for Homeland Security chief, "has no life."
2000: Presidential candidate George W. Bush makes an offhand remark about N.Y. Times reporter Adam Clymer at a campaign event in Naperville, Ill.
2006: President Bush uses an expletive while talking to Tony Blair at the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
2004: Sen. John Kerry blasts Republicans as "liars" while campaigning against President Bush.
2010: The vice president congratulates President Obama with an f-bomb.
2010: Prime Minister Gordon Brown is caught calling an elderly woman "bigoted."
2010: A hot mic shows Carly Fiorina mocking opponent Sen. Barbara Boxer, Meg Whitman.