How many times do candidates have to be caught saying something they shouldn’t while the cameras are rolling or conversation is being recorded before they learn to assume the microphone is ALWAYS on?
Perhaps the most infamous snafu of this kind was made by former President Ronald Reagan, who quipped in a 1984 pre-speech joke during the Cold War…
“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”
The joke was caught and recorded by a “hot” mic and leaked to the public afterwards.
A new example came to light just this week when Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) was caught on camera slamming a pair of union officials in an exchange on Politics Now.
As the pre-interview video opens, Horsford and the show host are discussing John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association (CCEA), who’d been threatening a teachers’ strike for the past several weeks.
“That guy’s crazy,” Horsford laughed.
“The only crazier guy,” the host responded. “Tommy White.”
To which Rep. Horsford replied, “I’ll give you that one.”
Mr. White is the Secretary/Treasurer of the politically powerful Laborers Union, Local 872 in Rep. Horsford’s district.
Labor unions of all types traditionally support Democrat candidates. It’s a significant part of the party’s base.
So to be caught “dissing” a pair of local labor union bosses wasn’t exactly a wise strategic move by Rep. Horsford as he prepares to run for re-election.
The rule is simple: ALWAYS assume the mic is ALWAYS on.
Dr. Chuck Muth, PsD
Professor of Psephology*
* Psephology (pronounced see-follow-gee): The study of campaigns and elections