National Party leader John Key's likening of himself to Barack Obama is "absolutely ludicrous", Prime Minister Helen Clark says.
Mr Key compared himself to the United States Democratic Party presidential contender in an interview with a British newspaper, published today.
The Financial Times described Key as "young, smart and rich", but warned that if he beat Helen Clark at the polls in the next 11 weeks, he would become the most inexperienced politician to lead New Zealand in more than 100 years.
"I'm a bit like (Barack) Obama," Mr Key, 47, told the Financial Times. "I am not institutionalised in Wellington".
"I had 18 years in the commercial world and I will be quite pragmatic," the old former Merrill Lynch investment banker said.
But then she, and her Deputy, start the beat-up, and make comparisons that Key didn't:
But Miss Clark said the comparison was "absolutely ludicrous".
"For Mr Key, a rather wooden speaker at the best of times, to compare himself to one of the most gifted orators of our time is simply preposterous."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen also wasted no time in attacking Mr Key.
"John Key has a very high opinion of himself, but his claim to the mantle of Barack Obama is laughable."
Mr Obama had turned down high-profile corporate jobs in order to work in his community, while Mr Key had spent decades as a currency trader, Dr Cullen said.
It all seems soooo much like something out of the Crosby/Textor playbook which Clark and Cullen hate with such a passion. And obviously the Prime Minister has forgotten the time when she proclaimed
"I sometimes wonder whether I'm a victim of my own success as a popular and competent Prime Minister"