Former Attorney General John Ashcroft drew the ire of students at liberal Skidmore College this week when he confused the name of Barack Obama with that of Osama bin Laden.
"All I'm saying about the Patriot Act," Ashcroft began, "is that the elected representatives of this country, including Osama ..."
His words were met with a roar of disbelief and disapproval, as he continued stammering, "uh ... you know ... not ... Obama."
Ashcroft attempted to say "I'm sorry" but was drowned out by prolonged boos. "I did not mean to ... I'm sorry about that ... I apologize publicly," Ashcroft went on as the boos gradually subsided.
Ashcroft's appearance at the highly liberal college, which was arranged by a small group of conservative students, had proved highly controversial even before his arrival.
Liberal blogs have been particularly skeptical of Ashcroft's characterization of his mistake as accidental. One suggested, "Hint to reporters: it's not an accident, it's a strategy." Another explained, "This is a purposeful mistake being done by conservatives to subliminally make the connections with not only the terrorist but with the notion that Obama is somehow 'foreign'."
This video is from ABCNews.com, broadcast April 3, 2008.