HEALTH Minister Tony Abbott was forced into an embarrassing apology - not once, but twice - and was also caught out swearing at his ALP counterpart today.
He had to say sorry to the heroic face of the campaign against James Hardie, Bernie Banton, and then again for turning up 30 minutes late for a nationally-televised health debate with his Labor counterpart, Nicola Roxon.
And minutes later he was caught out swearing after Ms Roxon took him to task for being tardy.
But the problems didn't end there.
The Commonwealth's plan to take over the Mersey Hospital in Tasmania - hoping it will shore up its vote in the marginal seat of Braddon - has been delayed by administrative bungling which Mr Abbott blames on the state.