Published November 20, 2014
Australian officials wanted to get rid of some commemorative mugs that misspelled President Barack Obama's name. And boy, did they ever.
A Parliament House official told senators on Monday that 198 mugs were smashed and buried under wet concrete at a loading dock behind the building. Sen. John Faulkner called it a "mafia-style execution" for the mugs, which had an extra "r'' printed in Obama's first name.
The government made 200 of the mugs to commemorate the president's planned visit to Australia in 2010, which was later canceled. No mugs were created when the American president finally made it to Australia last year.
Only two of the mugs were ever sold from the Parliament House gift shop, including one to the journalist who reported that Obama's name had been misspelled.
"Due to the sensitivity associated with the mistake that was made with the president's name, the last thing we wanted was for the fragments to be found on a garbage tip somewhere," said Bronwyn Graham, the Parliament House official.
"I am not saying it was a bad idea. It is creative; I will give you that," Faulkner told Graham and her superior, David Kenny, who had authorized the disposal.
"You have not buried any other mistakes in concrete, have you Mr. Kenny, per chance?" Faulkner asked. Kenny said he had not.