It's no secret that Mexico has many very important problems, not the least of which is a drug war that has killed more than 47,000 people since President Felipe Calderón began his assault against cartels in 2006.
But during the first of two debates in run up to the July 1 presidential elections, the talk of the country is not policy differences. Instead, the talk since Sunday night has been the busty hostess who made her way on stage to hand out cards assigning the candidates a speaking order. Julia Orayen was wearing a long white dress with a plunging neckline.
Since Sunday, we've also learned that Orayen, an Argentinian model, was a former Playboy Playmate and that she's been invited back by the magazine.
The Mexican daily Vanguardia published a play-by-play post-mortem today, including the Instituto Federal Electoral, Mexico's electoral commission, saying they ordered Orayen to wear something "sober and formal." Orayen told Univision that she's surprised at the reaction, because all she was told was that the dress be white and long and, well, it covered her legs.
The Los Angeles Times reports that some of the talk was serious:
"As photos of the debate's busty model kept abuzz online overnight, analysts and even some of the candidates on Monday morning took the edecan as a topic serious enough to discuss on the morning news radio programs.
"Speaking to host Carmen Aristegui, presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota said she thought Orayen was "very attractive" but that her dress was inappropriate for the generally serious nature of the debate, the first of two organized by the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE (link in Spanish).
"'The truth is, Carmen, I want to say that suddenly I was surprised, and I [thought], "Well, what sort of event are we attending here?"'"
In any case, after the hoopla — including the newly minted satirical twitter feed @LaEdecanDelIFE — Mexico's electoral commission apologized.
Here's their statement, via the BBC:
"We are sorry about the production error associated with the clothing of one of the assistants during the first presidential debate and want to apologize to the citizens and the candidates for the presidency."
We're guessing "production error" will go down in the annals of public relations euphemisms along with "wardrobe malfunction."
Update at 4:53 p.m. Keyhole Dress:
One of our wonderful editors, informs us that the dress Orayen is wearing is more accurately described as a keyhole dress.