Segolene du Gaffe brings new meaning the the word 'amateur':
PARIS, Feb 14, 2007 (AFP) - France's Segolene Royal stood accused of a fresh campaign blunder Wednesday after one of her top advisers disowned a text in which she harshly attacks President Jacques Chirac's Africa policy.
In a letter to appear in a French Catholic magazine Thursday, the Socialist candidate accuses Chirac of harming France's image in Africa by nurturing "personal friendships" with the leaders of its "most questionable regimes".
The text's publication coincides with the start of an Africa-France summit in southern France, set to be Chirac's swansong on the international stage.
Royal's cabinet director Christophe Chantepy told AFP late Tuesday that it "was sent out due to a technical error" and had "absolutely not been validated in its present form by Ms Royal".
Chantepy insisted Royal "has consistently refrained from making personal attacks throughout this campaign".
But Wednesday morning, after the magazine carrying the article had gone to press, the Socialist Party issued a statement endorsing Royal's attacks on Chirac, in exactly the same terms.
....The apparent confusion in the Socialist ranks drew an immediate attack from supporters of Royal's right-wing rival, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Dominique Paille, a deputy for Sarkozy's UMP party, said the mix-up provided "yet more patent proof of her amateurism", calling it "one more thing to add to the list of the Socialist candidate's gaffes".