TORONTO // The US vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin fell prey to a Canadian prankster yesterday when he called her impersonating the French president Nicolas Sarkozy and got her to accept an invitation to hunt baby seals and admit she wanted to be president in eight years. In an over-the-top French accent, a member of the Quebec comedy duo "The Masked Avengers," famous for tricking celebrities and politicians including Mr Sarkozy himself, asked if Mrs Palin would take him on a hunting trip by helicopter, and then in French said they could also go kill baby seals.
The comedian Marc-Antoine Audette, one-half of the comedic pair, tells Mrs Palin that he enjoys hunting and loves "killing those animals". An apparently oblivious Mrs Palin said she thought that would be fun. "We could have a lot of fun together as we're getting work done. We could kill two birds with one stone that way," she said. The prankster also got Mrs Palin, the Republican John McCain's running mate in Tuesday's US presidential election, to reveal a potential ambition for the top job in Washington.
Asked if she would like to eventually become president, the Alaska governor responded, "Well, maybe in eight years." Mrs Palin's office quickly admitted they were hoodwinked. "Governor Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy, and other celebrities in being targeted by these pranksters. C'est la vie," said a Palin spokeswoman, Tracy Schmitt, in an e-mail.
Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, told reporters in Springfield, Missouri: "I'm glad we check out our calls before we hand the phone to Barack Obama." During the phone call, which was played for a Montreal radio programme, Mrs Palin complimented the fake Sarkozy on his beautiful wife, Carla Bruni, and asked him to give her a "big hug" for her. "You added a lot of energy to your country with that beautiful family of yours," Mrs Palin said.
Mrs Palin also reassured the fake Mr Sarkozy when he said he would not want to bring the vice-president Dick Cheney on a hunting trip. Mr Cheney once accidentally shot a hunting partner. "I'll be a careful shot," she promised. *AFP/AP