By City Hall Scoop on April 28, 2010 7:00 PM
St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune has never been shy about having a big mouth and a penchant for quote-worthiness.
But today, Thune said, he found himself "ashamed" of a remark he made to a delegation of Japanese officials from Nagasaki, Japan, St. Paul's longest-running sister city.
The setting was St. Paul's City Council Chambers, following statements by Mayor Chris Coleman and Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue. Since 1955, dignitaries from the sister cities have met on occasion to exchange gifts and pleasantries and underscore a message of peace and an end to nuclear weapons.
Nagasaki was the site was the second atomic bomb strike by the United States at the end of World War II, and Thune himself has visited the memorial at ground zero commemorating the roughly 75,000 killed there. "It brought me to tears," Thune recalled of his 1996 wreath-laying visit.
So awkward laughs, bulged eyeballs and outright winces followed when Thune took the mic and offered the last in a series of quirky gifts (a ride on the back of his Harley, for example) to the Japanese officials: A roller derby player card of his daughter.
"My daughter is a roller girl who skated for the Atomic Bombshells," Thune said, adding, "which is kind of interesting."
"I had no idea until it came out of my mouth," Thune said later. "Have you ever had that feeling, when you just saying something and then you want to suck it right back in so badly? I truly felt sick to my stomach."
Through an interpreter, Mayor Taue responded, "My daughter rides a Harley, too," which continued the laughter, although it wasn't clear what was humor and what was get-me-out-of-here! nervous chuckles.
Coleman took the podium, and declared, "I don't think I can top that."
It wasn't clear if Thune's remark was lost in translation, or translated at all, but he didn't wait around to find out. When the pomp ended, he ran down the Nagasaki delegation outside the chamber and "apologized profusely."
Members of the delegation weren't immediately available to the Scoop, but Thune said, "They were very gracious."
To watch the clip, which could surely be nominated for "Most Awkward Moments Caught on Tape," click here. Start watching around 32:25, and make sure you watch the reactions of Coleman and City Council President Kathy Lantry when it dawns on them what's just transpired.
Some might be surprised that Thune wouldn't have seen it coming. The Atomic Bombshells don't exactly hide their references -- purely for show, to be sure -- to history.
The team's current website features a team photo of players wearing 1940s-era clothes posing before an Air Force bomber and include statements like: "The Atomic Bombshells will win the arms race to annihilate their foes with the first strike!"
Click to view image: '7b2a22021a4c-nagasaki_motherbaby2.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|