The name’s Osborne, Jeffrey Osborne: Obama confuses chancellor with black soul singer
In the history of mistaken identities, it may be one of the more baffling examples. Barack Obama has apologised to George Osborne for repeatedly confusing him with black Rhode-Island soul singer Jeffrey Osborne.
The US president repeatedly made the mistake during a speech on tax avoidance at the G8. On three separate occasions he said he agreed with "Jeffrey".
The Financial Times reported that he later apologised to the British chancellor, saying: "I'm sorry man. I must have confused you with my favourite R&B singer.”
It may be the first time that the Oxford educated 42-year-old chancellor was mistaken for the 65-year-old singer of On The Wings Of Love.
The elder Osborne, who secured five gold and platinum albums as a solo singer, offered to come to Britain to perform a duet with Britain's chancellor.
"I was really delighted actually," he told Sky News.
"I was really not aware that he 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 or something."
The chancellor responded on Twitter this afternoon.
One unexpected breakthrough from G8 – offer to sing with legend @_JeffreyOsborne. Jeff you wouldn't suggest a duet if you'd heard me sing
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) June 20, 2013
Speaking on LBC, Nick Clegg said: "I didn't hear this. I can see the newspapers have had some fun though."
The younger Osborne has long been mocked online for his middle name of Gideon, but there was a concerted effort to start a trend of permanently referring to him as Jeffrey this morning.
Poor old Osbo. Reminds me of that chap in Washington who used to always call me 'Holly'.
— Olly Barratt (@ollybarratt) June 20, 2013
Barack Obama calling George Osborne "Jeffrey" has made my day. I feel properly cheered.
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) June 20, 2013
Good job Barack Obama never watched Rainbow as a kid. He coulda mixed up Jeffrey, George and….Bungle. (h/t @anBhanna)
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) June 20, 2013
You know, if *everybody* in Britain just called George Osborne Jeffrey from now, his name would be Jeffrey. We could do that.
— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) June 20, 2013
Osborne/Obama meme pic.twitter.com/PAjVTAOZ0k
— Felicity Morse (@FelicityMorse) June 20, 2013