Gordon Brown could not believe the way Democratic US Senator John Kerry "lost" his first presidential debate with George W. Bush in 2004, a former aide to the prime minister has revealed.
Writing on his blog on Sunday, Damian McBride recalls how the then chancellor watched Kerry go head-to-head with Bush after he had discovered that Tony Blair would not be stepping down as prime minister in the near future.
"That evening, I sat with GB at the hotel bar, and watched the first Presidential debate between John Kerry and George W Bush," McBride writes.
"In six years working for GB, I never saw him so down. Within ten minutes of the debate starting, he was rasping criticism at his friend John Kerry. 'Look what Bush is doing – security, security, security. He’s defining the election, and instead of challenging him, Kerry’s going along with it. He’s trying to win on security – he’ll never win on security. Where’s the economy? Where’s jobs? Madness. Madness. He’s just lost the election.'"
McBride adds: "As each question was asked by the debate moderator, Gordon would thump the bar and deliver a word-perfect response for Kerry to deliver, and then thump the bar again and shake his head as Kerry made his own response. 'Rubbish. Total rubbish. You’ve lost, man. You’ve lost.'"
"It was a remarkable thing to watch, GB gripped by anger and frustration, projecting his own feelings onto Kerry, but still the consummate political genius."
Brown watched the debate after learning that Tony Blair had told reporters back in London that he would serve a full five years if he won the 2005 general election, leaving Brown to believe he had lost his chance to succeed him as prime minister.
McBride's blog comes just days before the first presidential debate is scheduled between President Obama and Mitt Romney.