Naturally, the superficial emphasis has been on the use of the word itself. Those with a tradition at this stage for missing the point by a distance greater than the human mind can encompass have praised him for showing that he is cool and down with the kids. The Evening Herald ran with a headline saying as much.
In point of fact, the issue for Cowen is not actually his swearing at all - which the finest of us do (and with some aplomb I meant add) , but the fact that he appears to be so easily rattled. Enda Kenny wasn't placing him under any especially harsh pressure, some might even say it was all fairly humdrum stuff. Until Cowen found himself unable to answer a pretty straightforward question and lacking the armoury of evasion natural to his predecessor he went lock, stock and sinker for the "attack is the best form of defense" approach. All of which meant his temperament wasn't the mae west when he turned to Mary Coughlan to make his now famous remark about" those f$%ckers". Some of the more ill informed, including as a writer for the Sunday Mirror and a letter writer elsewhere, were more appalled that he should say such things to a delicate flower such as Mary, poor innocent Mary Coughlan. Just as well for all our sakes that he doesn't carry around a nuclear button.
Fionnan Sheahan catches it perfectly with his piece on "The Touchy and Tetchy Show", indeed it is hard to see how this works to the advantage of Cowen either Coughlan.
"They don't like it up 'em, Mr. Mannering"- as a noted political commentator once said.