LONDON – U.S. President Barack Obama repeatedly called Britain’s finance minister, George Osborne, “Jeffrey” at the Group of Eight summit, media reported on Thursday.
Obama said three times that he agreed fully with “Jeffrey” during his presentation on G-8 host Britain’s plans to crack down on tax avoidance, leaving Osborne red-faced.
Realizing his blunder afterward, Obama joked that he had mistaken the chancellor of the exchequer for U.S. soul singer Jeffrey Osborne.
“I’m sorry, man. I must have confused you with my favorite R&B singer,” Obama was quoted as saying.
The chancellor, 42, bears little resemblance to Jeffrey Osborne, a 65-year-old singer-songwriter known for his 1982 classic “On the Wings of Love.”
Jeffrey Osborne told Sky News television: “I was really delighted, actually. I was really not aware that (Obama) was that much of a fan that he would call the chancellor Jeffrey Osborne. Tell the chancellor when I come over, I will have to hook up with him and we will do a duet of ‘On The Wings Of Love.’ “
The Sun newspaper quoted an onlooker as saying: “Osborne looked really put out” by what was a “visually crushing blow.”
“The first time Obama did it was bad enough, but then he kept on repeating the error throughout the presentation. It got really cringe-worthy by the end.”
George Osborne’s real first name is Gideon, but he switched to George after being teased as a teenager.