Americans like Britain's royal family "much better than they like their own politicians," President Barack Obama blurted out to Prince Charles in an odd airing of political dirty laundry Thursday.
"That’s awfully nice to know," the surprised prince politely replied during a brief meeting between the two in the Oval Office, the Guardian reports.
According to the Guardian, the odd exchange —
picked up by an Associated Press boom microphone and replayed for the press corps —
began when Obama leaned over to the prince to confess: "I think it’s fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family."
Charles seemed taken aback, however, when Obama added: "They like them much better than they like their own politicians."
"I don’t believe that," Charles demurred before trying to defuse the uncomfortable moment by recalling his visit to the home of George Washington the day before, the Guardian reports.
"I tell you what was nice was going back to Mount Vernon yesterday," the prince said.
Though the awkward patter took place in front of several dozen journalists before the prince and president's private meeting, the exchange couldn't be heard by anyone standing just a couple of feet away, the Guardian reports.
It was the AP boom mike that picked up the chat, which was then replayed by a White House pool reporter, the Guardian reports.
The president's confession comes as a new polls shows his favorability holding steady in negative territory —
right along with the lawmakers in Congress.
The CNN/ORC polls shows
Obama's job approval rating at 46 percent approving of his performance and 51 percent disapproving.
The survey also showed 63 percent disapprove of the Democratic leaders in Congress, while 74 percent disapprove of the Republican leadership.
The findings line up with a Gallup poll released Monday
that revealed for the first time since 1992, neither major party has an approval rating of 40 percent or higher; both parties have mostly stayed below the 50 percent mark since 2010, the pollster noted.
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles,
the duchess of Cornwall, are on a three-day Washington tour; the prince was last in the White House for a visit in 2011.
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