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Inside Move: Audio gaffe catches CNN with pants down

Anchor's bathroom break disrupts president's speech

It was the “zip!” heard around the world on Tuesday as CNN anchor Kyra Phillips left her mic on during a trip to the bathroom during the president’s speech on hurricane preparedness.

During what amounted to a presidential mea culpa for failures in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, CNN listeners got an earful from Phillips chewing the fat with a co-worker in the loo.

As the president pledged to “respond in a better fashion” to the next storm, Phillips was dishing on her brother.

“He’s married with three kids but his wife is a control freak!” she said, emphatically. Zip! Flush!

CNN called the White House to apologize for the gaffe.

“CNN experienced audio difficulties during the president’s speech today in New Orleans,” the net said, in a statement. “We apologize to our viewers and the president for the disruption.”

The control room’s in command of the mic, not the anchor; it’s not known if the glitch was man-made or technical.

Gaffe complicated the net’s sales pitch to the press about its August ratings gains. The net is up, across the board, with big gains for Lou Dobbs, Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn over August 2005.

It’s been four straight months of increases for CNN, but that story is about to change as year-to-year comparisons will suffer compared with Hurricane Katrina-fed numbers of last September.

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