As Spigel explains, Steinbrück was interviewed by Süddeutsche Zeitung for a regular feature, ‘Don’t Say Anything Now,’ which invites various people to answer questions with gestures instead of words:
Steinbrück was “very spontaneous”.
For Steinbrück’s spokesman Rolf Kleine, it was apparently “a little too spontaneous,” according to the paper.
So what question prompted the candidate to give what German’s call the “stink finger”? To be fair, the question was a bit obnoxious — and if this been in the middle of a bar and not in the middle of a campaign in which the man in question is trying to become a major global leader, it might not raise any eyebrows. It’s a bit base, but also very funny — defiantly so. Here it goes: “Gaffe Peer, Problem Peer, Peerlusconi — you don’t have to worry about being given any nice nicknames, do you?” The question was a reference to gaffes made by the candidate early on in the campaign.
But at the end of a nearly yearlong campaign, voters prefer chancellor Angela Merkel by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in polls and Merkel’s center-right Christlich Demokratische Union (Christian Democratic Union) has consistently led Steinbrück’s Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD, the Social Democratic Party) by double digits all year long, you’d be excused if wondering whether Steinbrück feels like flipping the bird to the entire German electorate.
Voters go to the polls on September 22 to select the members of Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag.
Photo credit to Alfred Steffen/SZ-Magazin/dpa.