The prank call to Sarah Palin – an unsettling comedy of errors and manners – is brainchild of two Canadian radio pranksters, Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel. The notorious duo from Montreal’s CKOI-FM radio station, got through to Palin yesterday (11/01/08) while pretending to be French President, Nicholas Sarkozy. The thick fake accent which Palin could not quickly fathom, became a treacherous set up for a potentially embarrassing exchange as the transcript below will show.
On a bad day, it could have happened to anyone, but as it unfolded it revealed a giant loophole protocosl for screening calls from people purporting to be dignitaries. How the comedy duo got the Palin aide phone number would be an interesting story, in and of itself.
The “Masked Avengers” comedy duo are well known in Montreal for making prank calls to politicians and celebrities. Duo member Marc Antoine-Audette describes the Palin prank as “the best one (they) have ever done.”
Here is the complete transcript of the call:
HANDLER: This is Betsy.
RADIO HOST: Hello, Betsy.
RADIO HOST: This is Frank l’ouvrier (Translated: Frank the worker) I’m with President Sarkozy, on the line for Governor Palin., I am with president Sarkozy, on the line for Gov. Palin
HANDLER: Yes, one second please. Can you hold on one second, please?
RADIO HOST: Yeah, no problem.
HANDLER: Alright, thanks.
HANDLER 2: Hi, I’m gonna hand the phone over to her.
RADIO HOST: OK, thank you very much, I’m gonna put the president on the line
GOV. SARAH PALIN: This is Sarah.
RADIO HOST: Uh yeah, Gov. Palin?
GOV. PALIN: Hello.
RADIO HOST: Just hold on for President Sarkozy, one moment.
GOV. PALIN: Oh, it’s not him yet. I always do that.
FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, hello, Gov. Palin.
GOV. PALIN: I’ll just have people hand it to me right when it’s him.
FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, hello, Mrs. Governor?
GOV. PALIN: Hello, this is Sarah. How are you?
FAKE SARKOZY: Fine, and you? This is Nikolas Sarkozy speaking. How are you?
GOV. PALIN: (A gushingly solicitous Palin) Oh, so good, it’s so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.
FAKE SARKOZY: Oh, it’s a pleasure.
GOV. PALIN: Thank you sir. We have such great respect for you, John McCain and I. We love you, and thank you for taking a few minutes to talk to me.
FAKE SARKOZY: I followed your campaigns very closely with my special American advisor, Johnny Halliday.
GOV. PALIN: Yes, good.
FAKE SARKOZY: Excellent, are you confident?
GOV. PALIN: Very confident, and we’re thankful that polls are showing that the race is tightening.
FAKE SARKOZY: Well, I know very well that the campaign can be exhausting. How do you feel right now, my dear?
GOV. PALIN: I feel so good, I feel like we’re in a marathon and at the very end of the marathon you get your second wind and you plow through the finish.
FAKE SARKOZY: You see, I got elected in France because I’m real, and you seem to be someone who’s real as well.
GOV. PALIN: Yes, Nikolas we so appreciate this opportunity.
FAKE SARKOZY: You know, I see you as a president one day too.
GOV. PALIN: Haha, maybe in eight years.
FAKE SARKOZY: Well, I hope for you, you know we have a lot on common because personally, one of my favorite activities is to hunt, too.
GOV. PALIN: Oh, very good, we should go hunting together.
FAKE SARKOZY: Exactly, we could go try hunting by helicopter like you did. I never did that. Like we say in France, (says long French-sounding phrase).
GOV. PALIN: Well, I think we could have a lot of fun together as we’re getting work done. We could kill two birds with one stone that way.
FAKE SARKOZY: I just love killing those animals, mm mm, taking away life, that is so fun. I would really love to go as long as we don’t bring vice president Cheney, haha.
GOV. PALIN: (WITH WEIRD LAUGH) No, I’ll be a careful shot, yes.
FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, you know we have a lot in common because from my house I can see Belgium. That’s kind of less interesting than you.
GOV. PALIN: Well, see, we’re right next door to other countries that we all need to be working with, yes.
FAKE SARKOZY: Some people said in the last days, and I thought that was mean, that you weren’t experienced enough in foreign relations, and you know, that’s completely false, that’s the thing I said to my great friend, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stef Carse.
GOV. PALIN: Well, you know, he’s doing fine too, when you come into a position underestimated, it gives you an opportunity to prove the pundits and the critics wrong. You work that much harder.
FAKE SARKOZY:I, I was wondering because you are also next to him, one of my good friends, also, the prime minister of Quebec, Mr. Richard Z. Sirois, have you met him recently? Did he come to one of your rallies?
GOV. PALIN: I haven’t seen him at one of the rallies, but it’s been great working with the Canadian officials in my role as governor. We have a great cooperative effort there, as we work on all of our resource development projects. You know, I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally and your beautiful wife, oh my goodness; you’ve added a lot of energy to your country with that beautiful family of yours.
FAKE SARKOZY: Thank you very much, you know my wife Carla would love to meet you. You know, even though she was a bit jealous that I was supposed to speak to you today.
GOV. PALIN: Well give her a big hug for me.
FAKE SARKOZY: You know my wife if is a singer and a former hot top model. And she’s so hot in bed, she even wrote a song for you.
GOV. PALIN: Oh my goodness, I didn’t know that.
FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, in French, it’s called Du rouge à lèvres sur une cochonne (Approximate translation: Lipstick on a sow or slut) or if you prefer in English “Joe the Plumber it is Life, Joe the Plumber”.
GOV. PALIN: Maybe she understands the some of the unfair criticism, but I bet you she’s such a hard worker too and she realizes you just plough through that criticism.
FAKE SARKOZY: I just want to be sure, I don’t quite understand the phenomenon Joe the Plumber, that’s not your husband, right?
GOV. PALIN: That’s not my husband, but he’s a normal American who just works hard and doesn’t want government to take his money.
FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, yes, I understand. We have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France, it’s called “Marselle the Guy with Bread Under his Armpit”. Oui.
GOV. PALIN: Right, that’s what it’s all about, the middle class and government needing to work for them. You’re a very good example for us here.
FAKE SARKOZY: I seen a bit, but NBC, even Fox News wasn’t an ally, an ally, sorry about as much as usual.
GOV. PALIN: Yes, that’s what we’re up against.
FAKE SARKOZY: I must say, Gov. Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life – you know, Hustler’s “Nailin’ Palin”.
GOV. PALIN: Oh good, thank you.
FAKE SARKOZY: That was really edgy.
GOV. PALIN: Well good.
FAKE SARKOZY: I really loved you. And I must say something else so governor, you’ve been pranked by the Masked Avengers, we’re two comedians from Montreal.
GOV. PALIN: Oh, [sic] we’ve been pranked. What radio station is this?
FAKE SARKOZY: This is for CKOY in Montreal.
GOV. PALIN: In Montreal? tell me there radio station call letters.
FAKE SARKOZY: CK… Hello? If one voice can change the world for Obama, one Viagra can change the world for McCain.
PALIN AID: I’m sorry, I have to let you go, thank you.
FAKE SARKOZY: Yay! Woohoo!
End of transcript.
Palin detractors have really been having a field day with this one, but at a time it looks people are about to close the book on Palin, a sense of perspective is called for because in the larger scheme of things the prank clip just shades in details that her speeches (past and present) and the interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric charted in more substantive strokes. Compared to that, the prank clip is next to nothing beyond portraying a rather obtuse novice, with an evidently inexperienced support crew.
What did the public expect? There were a lot of red flags in that conversation but expecting Sarah Palin to get them, under the circumstances, and respond accordingly was rather expecting too much.
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