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Stumped Politician Phones Merkel On TV Quiz Show, Gets Voice Mail

Wolfgang Bosbach — not on the set of <em>Who Wants to be a Millionaire?</em>
Britta Pedersen
Wolfgang Bosbach — not on the set of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

If you're stuck while playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? it's probably a bad idea to call a world leader for the phone-a-friend option.

But that's precisely what Wolfgang Bosbach did. Twice.

Bosbach, a political ally of Angela Merkel, called the German chancellor when he was stuck on the celebrity version of the game show. The question that stumped him: Why was the East German WM66 washing machine legendary?

He got Merkel's voice mail both times.

Here's more from the BBC:

"When asked if he wanted to phone a friend, Mr Bosbach suggested the chancellor, explaining that 'she's always happy to see me and hear my voice.'

"A correct answer from Ms Merkel would have won him 500,000 euros to spend on good causes.

"At the end of the show he received a text back from Ms Merkel saying: 'Ok whatever it was, warm greetings from am.' "

Bosbach then tried a local television presenter, reports RTL, the German network that broadcasts the show. The presenter answered the phone but couldn't help him.

The answer, which Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, may have known: The WM66's owners also used it to stew fruit.

Bosbach, a German lawmaker who is deputy chairman of Merkel's CDU/CSU group in Parliament, bowed out of the show with 125,000 euros (about $170,000).

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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