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The Quick 10: 10 Famous Comments Made By Non-U.S. Politicians

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herbert We're probably all very familiar with phrases uttered by U.S. politicians that have gone down in history. The good: FDR's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and Teddy's "Speak softly and carry a big stick." And the bad: the elder Bush's "Read my lips: no new taxes," Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," and Senator Larry Craig's "I have a wide stance."

But the same thing happens in other countries, of course, we just don't often hear as much about them. I thought we'd check some of those out today. And, if we have any natives of those countries reading, let us know if these statements really are widely known and/or mocked.

1. Carlos Saúl Menem, the President of Argentina from 1989-1999, has a whole host of phrases. During his tenure as President, he was accused of corruption, unemployment rates soared to more than 20 percent, and Argentina entered a terrible recession. So when you consider his campaign catchphrase, "¡Síganme, no los voy a defraudar!" ("Follow me, I won't let you down!") you can see how it became the laughingstock of his Presidency (kind of like the No New Taxes debacle). He apparently was also famous for saying, "Hermanito querido"¦" which means "My dear little brother"¦". He would say it condescendingly in speeches and debates.

2. Austrian Chancellor Fred Sinowatz (his term was from 1983-1986) is often quoted tongue-in-cheek. He once said, "Ich weiß, das klingt alles sehr kompliziert...", which means, "I know, this all sounds complicated." People now use the phrase to try to hide when they don't know much about the subject. It's done ironically, though "“ as soon as you say, "I know, this all sounds complicated"¦" people immediately know you are no expert on the subject at hand. Sinowatz just recently died, actually, on August 11.

3. Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien - "I don't know... A proof is a proof. What kind of a proof? It's a proof. A proof is a proof, and when you have a good proof, it's because it's proven."

4. "Mit Verlaub, Herr Präsident, Sie sind ein Arschloch." This was said by German foreign minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer. What does it mean?

It's something we've probably all wanted to say at one point or another to at least one of our Presidents: "With all due respect, Mr. President, you are an asshole." They were having a heated debate in parliament and the President had threatened to eject him from the meeting (it's just like baseball!).

5. And yet another "No new taxes" "“esque statement: "Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten." This was said by Walter Ulbricht, a German communist politician who has held several public office roles. The translation? "No one intends to build a wall." Of course, the Berlin Wall was built a couple of months later.

chavez6. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez got his rear handed to him by Juan Carlos I of Spain last year during the Ibero-American Summit. First, he called former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar a fascist. Then when the current Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, tried to respond during his allotted time, President Chavez kept interrupting, even when his microphone was turned off on him. Finally, Juan Carlos reached his breaking point, turned to Chavez and said, "¿Por qué no te callas?" Translation: "Why don't you shut up?"

7. Another zinger from Spain: Then-Prime Minister Felipe González was campaigning to keep his position in 1996. His opinion of his opponents were quite clear: "Aznar y Anguita son la misma mierda." You can probably figure this one out if you know how to curse in Spanish "“ "Aznar and Anguita are the same shit."

8. As current Polish President Lech KaczyÅ„ski was about to get into his car in 2002 after attending an event for the Warsaw mayoral campaign, he was stopped by a passerby. The passerby said (in Polish), "You've changed the part, you've run away like rats." The distinguished politician's response?

"Sir, piss off Sir! That's what I'll say to you."
Passerby: "Piss off sir?? Sir, you are just afraid of the truth!"
KaczyÅ„ski: "Piss off, old man!"

Ever since, the phrase "Piss off, old man!" has been seen on t-shirts, movies and cartoons "“ albeit, in a milder form for cartoons. In the Polish versions of Open Season, the Simpsons Movie and Shrek, the form, "Get lost, old man," was used.

9. At the time this quote was originated, Romanian President Traian Băsescu was the Minister of Transport. After a particularly heavy snow, numerous streets were blocked and seemingly nothing was being done about it. When asked about what measures he was taking to be more effective next time, his response was, "Iarna nu-i ca vara" - "When it's winter, it's not like summer."

trudeau10. This last one is probably my favorite. I guess, in some parts of the world, "Fuddle Duddle" is a popular euphemism for the F-Bomb. Similar to "fudge," I suppose. In 1971, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was accused of mouthing "Eff off" during a discussion at the House of Commons. Of course, the press was all over it. Trudeau denied saying it or mouthing it or anything of that nature, although admitted he may have moved his lips at the moment in question. Here's the transcript of an interview from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

Pierre Trudeau: Well what are they, lip readers or something?
Press: Did you"¦?
Pierre Trudeau: Of course I didn't say anything. I mean that's a"¦
Press: Did you mouth anything?
Pierre Trudeau: I moved my lips and I used my hands in a gesture of derision, yes. But I didn't say anything. If these guys want to read lips and they want to see something into it, you know that's their problem. I think they're very sensitive. They come in the House and they make all kinds of accusations, and because I smile at them in derision they come stomping out and what, go crying to momma or to television that they've been insulted or something?
[later in the press conference]
Pierre Trudeau: Well, it's a lie, because I didn't say anything.
Press: Sir, did you mouth it?
Pierre Trudeau: [visibly annoyed] What does "mouth" mean?
Press: Move your lips.
Pierre Trudeau: Move your lips? Yes I moved my lips!
Press: In the words you've been quoted as saying?
Pierre Trudeau: [half smile] No.
Press: (After murmurs by other press) What were you thinking"¦ when you moved your lips?
Pierre Trudeau: What is the nature of your thoughts, gentlemen, when you say "fuddle duddle" or something like that? God, you guys"¦! [walks away]

Needless to say, the press had a blast with this. When his wife became pregnant with their first child, a popular radio station declared, "Margaret Trudeau has been fuddle-duddled!"

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Paw Enforcement: A History of McGruff the Crime Dog
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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Jack Keil, executive creative director of the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample ad agency, was stuck in a Kansas City airport at three in the morning when he started thinking about Smokey Bear. Smokey was the furred face of forest fire prevention, an amiable creature who cautioned against the hazards of unattended campfires or errant cigarette butts. Everyone, it seemed, knew Smokey and heeded his words.

In 1979, Keil’s agency had been tasked with coming up with a campaign for the recently-instituted National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), a nonprofit organization looking to educate the public about crime prevention. If Keil could create a Smokey for their mission, he figured he would have a hit. He considered an elephant who could stamp out crime, or a rabbit who was hopping mad about illegal activity.

A dog seemed to fit. Dogs bit things, and the NCPC was looking to take a bite out of crime. Keil sketched a dog reminiscent of Snoopy with a Keystone Cop-style hat.

Back at the agency, people loved the idea but hated the dog. In a week’s time, the cartoon animal would morph into McGruff, the world-weary detective who has raised awareness about everything from kidnapping to drug abuse. While he no longer looked like Snoopy, he was about to become just as famous.

In 1979, the public service advertising nonprofit the Ad Council held a meeting to discuss American paranoia. Crime was a hot button issue, with sensational reports about drugs, home invasions, and murders taking up the covers of major media outlets like Newsweek and TIME. Surveys reported that citizens were concerned about crime rates and neighborhood safety. Respondents felt helpless to do anything, since more law enforcement meant increased taxes.

To combat public perception, the Ad Council wanted to commit to an advertising campaign that would act as a preventive measure. Crime could not be stopped, but the feeling was that it could be dented with more informed communities. Maybe a clean park would be less inviting to criminals; people might need to be reminded to lock their doors.

What people did not need was a lecture. So the council enlisted Dancer Fitzgerald Sample to organize a campaign that promoted awareness in the most gentle way possible. Keil's colleagues weighed in on his dog idea; someone suggested that the canine be modeled after J. Edgar Hoover, another saw a Superman-esque dog that would fly in to interrupt crime. Sherry Nemmers and Ray Krivascy offered an alternative take: a dog wearing a trench coat and smoking a cigar, modeled in part after Peter Falk’s performance as the rumpled TV detective Columbo.

Keil had designs on getting Falk to voice the animated character, but the actor’s methodical delivery wasn’t suited to 30-second commercials, so Keil did it himself. His scratchy voice lent an authoritarian tone, but wasn't over-the-top.

The agency ran a contest on the back of cereal boxes to name the dog. “Sherlock Bones” was the most common submission, but "McGruff"—which was suggested by a New Orleans police officer—won out.

Armed with a look, a voice, and a name, Nemmers arranged for a series of ads to run in the fall of 1980. In the spots, McGruff was superimposed over scenes of a burglary and children wary of being kidnapped by men in weather-beaten cars. He advised people to call the police if they spotted something suspicious—like strangers taking off with the neighbor’s television or sofa—and to keep their doors locked. He sat at a piano and sang “users are losers” in reference to drug-abusing adolescents. (The cigar had been scrapped.)

Most importantly, the NCPC—which had taken over responsibility for McGruff's message—wanted the ads to have what the industry dubbed “fulfillment.” At the end, McGruff would advise viewers to write to a post office box for a booklet on how to prevent crime in their neck of the woods.

A lot of people did just that. More than 30,000 booklets went out during the first few months the ads aired. McGruff’s laconic presence was beginning to take off.

By 1988, an estimated 99 percent of children ages six to 12 recognized McGruff, putting him in Ronald McDonald territory. He appeared on the ABC series Webster, in parades, and in thousands of personal appearances around the country, typically with a local police officer under the suit. (The appearances were not without danger: Some dogs apparently didn't like McGruff and could get aggressive at the sight of him.)

As McGruff aged into the 1990s, his appearances grew more sporadic. The NCPC began targeting guns and drugs and wasn’t sure the cartoon dog was a good fit, so his appearances were limited to the end of some ad spots. By the 2000s, law enforcement cutbacks meant fewer cops in costume, and a reduced awareness of the crime-fighting canine. When Keil retired, an Iowa cop named Steve Parker took over McGruff's voice duties.

McGruff is still in action today, aiding in the NCPC’s efforts to raise awareness of elder abuse, internet crimes, and identity theft. The organization estimates that more than 4000 McGruffs are in circulation, though at least one of them failed to live up to the mantle. In 2014, a McGruff performer named John Morales pled guilty to possession of more than 1000 marijuana plants and a grenade launcher. He’s serving 16 years in prison.

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Animals
Watch a Panda Caretaker Cuddle With Baby Pandas While Dressed Up Like a Panda
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iStock

Some people wear suits to work—but at one Chinese nature reserve, a handful of lucky employees get to wear panda suits.

As Travel + Leisure reports, the People's Daily released a video in July of animal caretakers cuddling with baby pandas at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China's Sichuan Province. The keepers dress in fuzzy black-and-white costumes—a sartorial choice that's equal parts adorable and imperative to the pandas' future success in the wild.

Researchers raise the pandas in captivity with the goal of eventually releasing them into their natural habitat. But according to The Atlantic, human attachment can hamper the pandas' survival chances, plus it can be stressful for the bears to interact with people. To keep the animals calm while acclimating them to forest life, the caretakers disguise their humanness with costumes, and even mask their smell by smearing the suits with panda urine and feces. Meanwhile, other keepers sometimes conceal themselves by dressing up as trees.

Below, you can watch the camouflaged panda caretakers as they cuddle baby pandas:

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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