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Hey Abbott!

It's 36 years since the passing of that great American comedian Bud Abbott. He left us a great legacy of funny lines in decades of vaudeville, film and television. Many of those lines were scripted by some very funny writers.

His namesake, honourable member for Warringah and current Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott also says many funny things, but they are mostly unintentional and, as he confessed to Kerry O'Brien on last night's 7.30 Report, unscripted.

The full transcript of a quite extraordinary interview can be read here. Video - not embeddable unfortunately - can also be accessed from the same page for (I believe) a limited time.

Here, though, is a key excerpt from that interview. Totally ad lib, but likely to become as memorable as the original Abbott's "Who's On First" interview with Lou ("Peter") Costello during the 1942 season of "Baseball Tonight":

"KERRY O'BRIEN: But what you haven't explained is how you can make one promise in one month and then completely change it the next. What happened in that month where you had this sudden explosion of vision?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, again, Kerry, people will make their own judgments about me and if they ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: No, but I'd like you to explain it. Tony Abbott feels with conviction we will not have a new tax in any way, shape or form, we won't have a new tax; a month later, you do.

TONY ABBOTT: Well, again Kerry, I know politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you go a little bit further than you would if it was an absolutely calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark, which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So every time you make a statement, we have to ask you whether it's carefully prepared and scripted or whether it's just something on the fly? No, seriously; this is a very serious question.

TONY ABBOTT: But all of us, Kerry, all of us when we're in the heat of verbal combat, so to speak, will sometimes say things that go a little bit further."

And to think that it is only five days since Kevin Rudd put 730reportland on the map...