U-S Republican presidential candidate George W.Bush says he regrets that a private comment he made to his running mate got on the public airways.
Bush made a disparaging remark in Illinois about a reporter from The New York Times on Monday at a campaign rally.
He was standing in front of a microphone with his running mate, Dick Cheney, but he didn't think the microphone was switched on.
The Texas governor has said in the past that what the country needs is more straight talk in Washington.
Bush was at a campaign rally in Naperville, Illinois standing on the podium in front of a microphone, waiting for the music to finish.
He turned to his running mate Dick Cheney and pointed out reporter Adam Clymer, who was in the nearby press area, calling him an "asshole".
Cheney nodded in agreement with Bush's assessment.
Both men were unaware the microphone was switched on when he'd leaned over to Cheney at the Labor Day rally.
Bush was apparently upset with Clymer for a series of unflattering articles he wrote on Bush's tenure as governor.
A spokesperson for the Texas governor says the remark was only a side comment whispered to his running mate and was not meant to be a public comment.
So far, Clymer, himself who is following the Bush-Cheney campaign, has made no comment.
And until now, Cheney has refused to discuss it.
Asked about the comment Bush said he regretted that everybody heard what he said.
"I regret that the private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it to the public airways. I regret that it made it to the public airways. I was making a comment to Vice-president Cheney. I did not obviously realize that mics were going to pick it up, I regret that everybody heard what I said. I regret that people heard the comment. Thank you very much. I'll see you in the morning."
SUPERCAPTION: George W. Bush, Republican Presidential Candidate
Meanwhile, Bush and his Democratic opponent, Al Gore, are squabbling over their upcoming debate schedule.
Bush said that Gore apparently did not mean what he said when he promised to debate Bush "any time, any where."
Bush has offered to debate on two television talk programs and one sponsored by a bipartisan commission.
Gore says he will only accept the offer after Bush agrees to three debates sponsored by the bipartisan commission which would be carried on all major networks in prime time.
Presidential elections , 2000 United States Presidential Election , United States Presidential Election , State governments , Campaigns , Government and politics , National elections , Elections , Events
George W. Bush , Richard Cheney , Adam Clymer , Al Gore
Naperville , United States , Illinois , Allentown , Pennsylvania , North America