Politicians, Apologies, and PA Scores

With all the spin-doctors and PR professionals our politicians have at their disposal, we are continually surprised by the poor quality of their apologies. A quick look at what some of them have said, what they did wrong, how they apologized (in their words), followed by our ranking.

1. John McCain (Republican Presidential Candidate) -- "Never have I been able to go out into the city as I was today." McCain was referring to how easy it was to walk freely around Baghdad on a visit to the war torn city, until pictures of him in full combat gear and completely surrounded by dozens of special and regular units of the US armed forces appeared in the media.

McCain's Apology -- "Of course I am going to misspeak and I've done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do it in the future."

PA's Apology Score -- 0/10

2. George Allen (US Senator who was running for Re-Election) -- "This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us everywhere... Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

Allen's Apology -- "I would never want to demean him as an individual. I do apologize if he's offended by that. That was no way the point."

PA's Apology Score -- 0/10

3. Senator Joseph Biden (Senator and 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate) -- "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Biden's Apology -- "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Senator Obama."

PA's Apology Score -- 4/10

4. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- apologizing for mistakes related to the apprehension and transfer of Canadian engineer, Maher Arar, to Syria to face imprisonment and torture for suspected ties to terrorism.

Rice’s Apology -- "We do absolutely not wish to transfer anyone to any place in which they might be tortured. We do not think that this case was handled as it should have been.…I think we and the Canadians do not have exactly the same understanding of what is possible in the future for Arar in terms of travel and the like. But we have told the Canadian government that we do not think that this was handled particularly well in terms of our own relationship and that we will try to do better in the future."

PA’s Apology Score -- 1/10


Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney -- "I took compensation from Mr. Schreiber for serious work done on his behalf around the world. I was paid ($275,000 in cash) to execute this mandate." The money was subsequently deposited in two safety deposit boxes in Montreal and New York, presumably to avoid paying taxes.

Mulroney's Apology -- "The truth is that I should have declined the offer. I should have insisted the payment in a more transparent or accountable manner. By not doing so I inadvertently created an impression of impropriety that I hope will not reflect adversely on the high office I was privileged to hold. When I look back on it today I realize I made a serious error of judgment in receiving a payment in cash for this assignment even though it was decidedly not illegal to do so. That mistake in judgment was mine alone. I apologize and I accept full responsibility for it."

PA's Apology Score -- 6/10