Prime Minister Gordon Brown began the day campaigning at a Honeywell community centre in Oldham.
Mr Brown defended his policies on education, the deficit, health and "helping people" in a sparky exchange with local resident, Gillian Duffy.
Sixty-five-year-old Mrs Duffy had challenged the prime minister on a number of issues including immigration and crime.
Following the conversation Mr Brown was caught on microphone describing her as a "bigoted woman".
Mr Brown had his head in his hand during a live interview in Manchester for BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show, as he heard a recording of his off-camera remarks. He appeared mortified, saying: "I apologise if I said anything that has been offensive."
After being told of the comment, Mrs Duffy said she'd like an apology from Gordon Brown and an explanation about why her comments were considered bigoted. Initially she thought "he was understanding, but he wasn't, was he?"
Mr Brown promptly returned to Rochdale and visited Mrs Duffy's home to privately apologise, describing himself as a "penitent sinner".
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