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Open-mic gaffe sparks laughs

Posted June 4, 2011 2:13 p.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2011 2:17 p.m. EDT

Well, at least they can laugh about it. 

Friday's accidental broadcast of the House GOP's closed-room caucus meeting certainly wasn't the first time state lawmakers have been burned by a hot microphone, and it probably won't be the last, either.  So it's not surprising both sides of the aisle found humor in it. 

Just after he learned that the meeting had been overheard by reporters, House Speaker Thom Tillis opened a press conference by tapping the microphone: "Is this thing on?"

Later Friday, Gov. Bev Perdue, who was called "incompetent" in the meeting, started her own news conference by tapping reporters' mics.

“Are these on? Is there a switch?" Perdue joked. "I’m incompetent when it comes to microphones.”

Friday evening, Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, brought it up as he chided Democrats for heated rhetoric in the budget debate. "Perhaps this day will go down, if somebody ever writes a history of the legislature, as the day on which many, many people didn't realize the mics were on," Blust said, laughing.

Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, wasn't about to let the double-entendre slide. "I was just curious as to the reference made to the mics being on and the budget. Would you clarify?" he asked Blust.

"You're just gonna have to do some research outside the chamber," Blust responded. "I don't want to take up valuable floor time talking about that."

And Majority Leader Skip Stam, R-Wake, won laughs at the close of Friday night's session when he announced a Republican caucus meeting "in a secure location."