Governments' Lighter Side

Oops: Governor’s slip of the tongue turns faces red

He accidentally calls Lt. Governor a “sex star”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently had one of those verbal gaffes that sometimes plague public officials. Hickenlooper, who often favorably refers to his Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia as a “rising star,” instead introduced Garcia as a “rising sex star” to about 40 kids at a Denver elementary school, according to The Denver Post.

Hickenlooper was at the school to promote a literacy initiative. A local radio station recorded the slipup, the newspaper reported, as the governor intoned, “Now I get to introduce that rising sex star….symbol. I mean, symbol -- not star.”

After some uncomfortable laughter, Hickenlooper tried to pivot, deadpanning to the group, “This might go down as one of my most difficult press conferences in the history of the office,” according to the Post.

Hickenlooper might take some comfort from the fact that he isn’t the only public official to suffer from a bout of foot-in-mouth disease. In fact, it’s a common ailment among politicians.

There was the time in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama told the crowd at a presidential campaign event in Beaverton, Ore., “I’ve now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go.” Or this gem from former Vice President Dan Quayle: “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.”

Local officials trip over their tongues, as well. Former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry once famously queried, “What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary?”

Hickenlooper isn’t even the only public official to slip over the “s” word. Former President George H.W. Bush once used it in describing his relationship with his predecessor, former President Ronald Reagan. “For seven and a half years I’ve worked alongside him, and I’m proud to have been his partner. We’ve had some triumphs. Made some mistakes. We’ve had some sex – setbacks.”

It’s a wonder that public officials ever open their mouths at all.



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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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