Are campaign gaffes political game-changers or mild diversions?
My colleagues are unanimous.
The blogosphere froths.
Why then feelings of unease?
On reflection, should Gordon Brown have called Mrs Duffy a 'bigot' to her face, and be done with it? Would that have been better?
One of the grave sins here is the disparity between the attitude displayed in private and public?
So how could or should he have dealt with her persistent assertions?
Politely as he did? Or with perhaps a little more edge?
'Mrs Duffy. Sorry, I know we've just met. But I really can't allow you to say this stuff unchallenged in front of the cameras and to criticise me in this emotive, unevidenced way. What on earth is your problem with Polish people anyway?
'Are your grandchildren prepared to work the hours and in the jobs that these guys are? I doubt it! Don't you know how much time and energy we have spent trying to deal with this issue?'
Would the news channels then have rushed to praise (rather than bury) him as an honest and fearless man prepared to speak truth unto prejudice?
Would the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts have found it a hilarious diversion and told everyone to leave Gord alone?
Would it have been preferable, even, for that rogue microphone to have heard him telling his aide in the back of the car: " I tell you what. She had me bang to rights there. We have soooo screwed up on immigration?"
Such confrontations now seem to happen to one or other leader on a daily basis (each one having the potential to wound).
And the rules of engagement are that the customer is always right and always wins? In public anyway. And especially if it involves a 'plucky pensioner' from Lancashire.
It seems to be widely-held now that 24-hour news and the online/social media revolution have given democracy a shot in the arm.
Unspun. As it happens. Empowers the citizen,innit?
Is it also possible that it stifles, compresses and shrink-wraps political debate?
Enlightening? Or quite the opposite?
The campaign is now a series of heavily choreographed photo-calls and speeches, worked up into a tapestry of tension, where party supporters gaze longingly at the back of leaders' heads as they speak (breaking the basic rule of amateur dramatics.)
Walk-abouts are a tortuous process of glad-handing amidst the media melee, with a potential peril lurking in every encounter?
They are performances to be survived not enjoyed - and everyone knows that it's only the angry confrontations - the ambushes - which will make the 'cut'.
(As Ann Treneman writes in the Times today, few are better-equipped to deal with the false theatrics of the walk-about than London's mayor)
TV debates have transformed this election landscape.
And TV has just intervened again.
TV is now watching round-the-clock.
And for this month in their lives these three leaders are fair game for attacks from each and every direction.
Poked with spears often dipped in poison, ignorance, misunderstanding and prejudice?
But are these ever game-changers, as opposed to a mild diversion?
Listening again to the recording of him in the car, you hear Gordon Brown actually sounding fairly calm and mellow given he thinks what's just happened with Mrs Duffy has gone so badly.
Imagine what it's like when he gets really angry.