Unknown to him at the time, Democrat Don Fowler was being filmed when he made a joke about Hurricane Gustav, which today reached Louisiana. Republicans have hit out at the politician, who dared to say that if the catastrophe struck when the Republican Convention was due to open on Monday, then God must be on their [the Democrats'] side.

A conservative blogger shot the video, on a plane travelling back from the Denver convention (Colorado) to Charlotte (North Carolina) on Friday. Don Fowler apologised for the gaffe on Sunday. He explained that the joke was made in reference to a speech given by reverend Jerry Falwell, who blamed the September 11th attacks on gay, lesbian and pro-abortion Americans.

"God’s on our side"

"The hurricane's going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is - at least it appears now that it'll be there Monday. That just demonstrates that God's on our side."