It turned out the premier was repeating the speech President Barack Obama had just given.
Mr Cowen was set to speak twice at the White House last night because there were two different parties going on at the executive mansion. No matter – he would give the same speech to the two different audiences.
But he was 20 seconds into his second address when it dawned on him that he was giving word for word the speech that Mr Obama had just read from the same teleprompter.
Mr Cowen stopped and looked back at the president to say: "That's your speech."
Mr Obama laughed and returned to the podium to offer what might have been Mr Cowen's remarks. In doing so, Mr Obama thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over.