Australia’s foreign minister arrives in Washington this week dogged by an Internet video that shows him cursing and pounding his desk in a rant that is fueling a political showdown with the prime minister.
In a YouTube video, Kevin Rudd throws the “f-bomb” along with other choice vulgarities, as he expresses his frustration over preparing to film a speech in Chinese.
He complains that the “[expletive] language” is too complicated. He is annoyed with the “[idiots] at the embassy” who fail to write in simple sentences for him. He also is irritated with a “bloody interpreter,” who is not identified.
The rant was filmed at some point when Mr. Rudd was prime minister, a position he held from 2007 to 2010. He told reporters last week that the embarrassing moments were supposed to have been outtakes but somehow ended up posted on the popular website just before he left on a trip to Mexico for the G-20 summit over the weekend.
He added that he “assumed” the outtakes were “destroyed at the time” and added that he had no idea who released them. Presumably, all video of him as prime minister were stored in a government office somewhere, he added.
The contretemps immediately sparked political charges in Australia, where Mr. Rudd is expected to challenge Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a leadership contest in the Labor Party in hopes of regaining the premiership he lost to her two years ago.
Miss Gillard has denied releasing the video.
“My office did not have access to the material people have seen on YouTube,” she said.
Some of her supporters are urging her to fire Mr. Rudd and head off any leadership challenge.
“It can’t keep going on like this,” one senior Labor Party source told the Herald Sun newspaper. “Sacking him can strengthen her if she handles it properly.”
Miss Gillard is vulnerable because she has lost popularity since ousting Mr. Rudd, who, himself, lost party support after two years as prime minister.
At least 16 Americans are facing criminal charges for promoting democracy in Egypt, but the Egyptian ambassador in Washington is not worried about the fallout.