(with a grateful hat tip to French Election 2007, a wonderful American site devoted to following the French presidential election, a source quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit during my morning coffee, and one which I unhesitantly recommend)
Ségolène in Royal pickle over Corsica
A French comedian masquerading as Quebec’s prime minister has added to Ségolène Royal’s growing reputation for gaffes by extracting a politically incorrect remark from the French presidential candidate in a hoax telephone conversation.
Gérald Dahan, who has trapped several French celebrities into telephonic indiscretions, called Ms Royal this week pretending to be Jean Charest, prime minister of Quebec’s premier. Mr Dahan deceived several of Ms Royal’s staff before speaking to the candidate, saying he wanted to discuss some controversial remarks she had made this week about Quebec.
Employing a fake Quebecois accent, Mr Dahan said that Ms Royal’s expression of sympathy for the sovereignty of the Québécois people would be comparable to him coming to France and supporting the idea of Corsican independence.
Laughing, Ms Royal replied: “The French would not be against this by the way. Don’t repeat that. It will create another incident in France. It’s a secret.”
Now, merely reading the translation may not convey the seriousness of the gaffe; listening to her in french, however, let's one recognize her utter tactlessness, her complete lack of anything resembling self-discipline or basic common sense.
Here is a french video clip featuring a phone interview with the quebecois comedian about his exploit, along with the very Sego sound clip on Corsican separatism that has caused all the uproar.
Joker to the end, Dahan pretends as if he has a second interview going on at the same time, so for most of this clip, the crosstalk makes the comedian admittedly hard to understand. The main reason I am including this clip for our english speaking audience, is to let you see the face of the two journalists as they listen to Segolene Royal's outrageously impolitic remark. Royal's sound clip begins at 2:11 of this video; you can tell from the reactions of the two hosts that they are flummoxed by the sheer inapropriateness of Royal's comments. "Mais cet enorme!" is the main host's initial reaction: "This is enormous!" he says, incredulous.
Once the interview with Dahan is over, the depths of the scandal are probed in the final seconds of the video, as the two hosts mention that for the prankster to have reached Sego herself, as he did, it meant he would have succeeded in fooling no less than ten levels of security checks with his impersonation!