Sam Smyth: A reluctant leader who risks becoming our 'Berlusconi' -- minus girls
Brian Cowen's day fell apart after suspicions that his articulation problems arose from late-night pints rather than early morning sinuses on his adenoidal interview on 'Morning Ireland'.
It dipped further when listeners feared his slurring suggested he had suffered a mild stroke and international news agencies ran with 'Was The Taoiseach Drunk?' stories.
But his pals in the Bar Lobby piled in with unconditional support and, by early evening, Fine Gael TD Simon Coveney -- his most censorious critic -- was reeling from the backlash.