Beyond Funny, Even Serious

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has a wicked sense of humor. It's why men with pipes are attracted to him. He does a good line in self-deprecation as well. Just last week he told reporters, "I am but a humble laborer in the world of politics from the Adelaide Hills." Still, the Liberal Party's self-styled toiler gets around. Downer recently charmed U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her short visit; Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and China's Premier Wen Jiabao are in for a treat, too. Downer's hyper-funny side is in its prime, frequently teased out by his hyperactive Opposition counterpart,...

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