KEVIN Rudd reckons Australians don't much care about claims his big-noting has offended US President George Bush and worried other governments. He made that clear when he was pressed on the issue in a TV interview before jetting off to Washington on Thursday.
And, basically, he is right. For voters - particularly the "working families" Rudd uses as a benchmark - bread-and-butter concerns will always trump insider political arguments about who did what to whom.
"I'm on about dealing with the real challenge of jobs, the financial system and whether people's bank deposits are secure for the future around the world," the Prime Minister said. "That, I think, is what the mums and dads of Australia are interested in."
The Liberals are well aware of this, which is why some Opposition MPs are not sure that Malcolm Turnbull is smart to bang on about the leaking of details of a telephone conversation between Rudd and Bush.
But the way Rudd reacted leaves little doubt that something is smelly.
The PM has looked and sounded as guilty as hell. That is more than enough to justify the Opposition Leader's persistence.
It is true that what matters most in Washington this weekend is the outcome of the G20 summit. The meeting could have a profound impact on employment, economic growth and financial stability here as well as overseas.
Rudd is convinced the Group of 20 leading developed and developing nations is the best forum to try to manage the global financial crisis, if for no other reason than that it includes China and India.
He was one of those pushing Bush hardest to call the summit. That was the purpose of the phone call five weeks ago that is at the centre of allegations about Rudd's lack of discretion.
So the mums and dads the PM refers to are right to be more concerned with the summit and its impact on their economic wellbeing than with the parliamentary argy-bargy about a leak.
But the leak still matters. >>more