Chirac caught making off-colour remark

26th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Former president Jacques Chirac, who is making a rock-star tour of France to promote his memoir, was caught making an off-colour remark when a dark-skinned bystander asked to pose with him for a photo.

PARIS - "Where are you from?" Chirac asked the man who approached him during a walkabout in Bordeaux with his former prime minister Alain Juppe, now mayor of the southwest city.

"From Lormont," the man answered, to which Juppe explained that Lormont is a nearby village.

After the man thanked Chirac for posing with him and walked away, Chirac approached Juppe and commented: "In my view, he does not exactly come from ... I mean, he was not born there."

"He is not from Correze," responded Juppe, referring to Chirac's home region.

Footage of the exchange was shown on a popular French television programme on Monday evening and widely reported in newspapers as a "slip of the tongue."

Some commentators called it as a "Hortefeux-ism" in reference to Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, who sparked a furore two months ago over some alleged anti-Arab comments.

Facing calls for his resignation, Hortefeux expressed regret after he was caught posing for cameras with a man of Arab origin and saying: "There always has to be one. When there's one, it's OK."

"It's when there are a lot of them that there are problems."

The 76-year-old Chirac has drawn huge crowds for book signings during his tour and polls show he is now one of France's most popular politicians.


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