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To be fair to the PM, it's not a question he'd rapidly have a coherent response to, but Brown didn't help matters by trying (and failing) to look like he hadn't heard the man, and getting into his limo. A subsequent communique from the Prime Ministerial carriage said that he was off to another meeting, hence the aborted stop-and-chat.
Yet for a politician aiming to get out there and speak to real people on the streets, as Brown has vowed he'll do, the failure to improvise and think on his feet in this particular encounter bodes ill for the three debates lined up over the coming weeks. Though Mr. Butterworth's interjection was perhaps a planned one — he is a blogger and no doubt aware of how these minor things can catch fire — it's to be expected that Messrs Clegg and Cameron will fire more probing questions in Brown's direction. Those overpaid advisors best start with the debate practice early.