Here’s What I Think of the President’s Special Olympics Crack

Over at AOL, I reported on President Obama’s crack about the Special Olympics on Leno tonight:

I just got the advance transcript, which can’t be released until the show airs, but the remark that Olbermann references is in there, pretty much exactly as he says:

Q Now, are they going to put a basketball –- I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. I have been practicing all –- (laughter.)

Q Really? Really?

THE PRESIDENT: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)

Q No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s like – it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)

Q No, that’s very good.

THE PRESIDENT: No, listen, I’m making progress on the bowling, yes.

Bill Burton put out a walkback/apology-type thing later on.

Let me be the first to say, if this were a Republican politician, the left would be all over this like balsamic reduction on arugula.  And there’s really no excusing this kind of insensitivity.

Having said that, most people will be satisfied with an apology.  Nobody thinks he was trying to slam the disabled.

The Republicans can get some mileage out of this if they don’t overplay it, which one or more of them certainly will.  Here’s my prediction:  Somebody will grandstand about this, Keith Olbermann will dig up a montage of conservatives making “retard” jokes and slashing funding for this or that, and the whole thing will be a net loss for them.

What they would do if they were smart is accept his apology, and invite him to match a massive donation to Special Olympics.

In any case, the President needs to improve on Burton’s statement, and quickly.  I’m sure he will.

Update: I want to add that there’s a lot of tone-deafness out there on this issue.  That’s one of the reasons I think people will forgive Obama for this.  People make offhand remarks like this all the time.  That don’t make it right.  Once, Keith Olbermann used a short-bus graphic to mock John McCain on the same show where he grandstanded about donating money to the Special Olympics.  I’m sure we could all be a lot more sensitive about this.

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16 Comments

  1. A slip of the mask from The Obama Deception;
    A Freudian slip.

    Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom?

  2. I hear Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver will be on GMA Friday morning to respond.

  3. Oh for fuck’s sake–don’t have expectations one way or another about politicians saying dumbass things now and then, and you’ll never be disappointed.

  4. The president messed up.. No queston about it. However, I’m a lowly commenter and am a true liberal when it comes to speech. Barack made a retared joke. But, I want my retard joke making freedom! I’m tired of this chilling effect on speech and writing and humor. Barack is an exception. Of course a president can’t get away with re re jokes. I can.

  5. Yeah, Cube, he messed up. BFD. But then that’s just me–I don’t really get too torqued by politicians slipping up on stupid verbal remarks. Hell, I miss W’s fuck-ups on that sort of thing–it’s one of the few things I actually liked about the guy.

  6. He has hurt many families in America. He needs to say he is sorry in the public, not to an organization.

    In addition, someone who claims to have experienced prejudice and stereotypes throughout life, and has written about them in great detail, should be more sensitive and refined from life’s lessons.

    Furthermore, Obama claimed he was going to have the world think ‘highly’ of America again. Will this joke help?

    For someone who spoke of equality as a creed. Does this joke match that philosophy?

    For someone that said he would stand for all people. Does this stand up for those that participate in the special Olympics?

    The fact is Obama claimed a higher standard. To much is given, much is required.

    Obama has just showed us that ‘yes we can’ destroy what a campaign stands for with a single joke.

    During the campaign for the White House in 2008, the media criticized Palin for being ‘common,’ ‘not-polished,’ ‘not-compassionate’ and ‘not presidential.’ However, compare Sarah Palins attitude in this video created three weeks ago for the Special Olympics in Boise, Idaho.

    You decide the more ‘presidential’ among them. Watch: http://tinyurl.com/ccz6nj

  7. Cube7:34AMMar 21st 2009

    I don’t just write blue, I live blue. I’ve got the blues. Once I raped an orphan smurf — the one with glasses.

    This P.C. shit and the constant parsing of words (not here, where clearly those bastard retards needed to be called out) does have a chilling effect on me. Yet, I know what’s right. Some things are dumb. Some folks have insidious motives, but, I know where I’m really at… A smurf bar, with smurf hookers. The retarded smurf hookers who are underage and shouldn’t be doing coke and tequila chasers.

    _________

    HOW DARE YOU DISCRIMINATE AGAINST RETARDED SMURFS WITH DRUG PROBLEMS!

    11:00 PM EST

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Unusable-Signal

  8. I thought this was good.

  9. Geez, Jax–he screwed up, he admitted it and apologized for it. It’s not like he went and started a war in a sovereign nation based on false pretenses or anything like that. What do you say we lighten up a bit, eh?

  10. I believe if one of his daughters were a special needs child, those comments would have never come out of his mouth. He needs to act like a president and nothing more… His comments were very offensive and it shows that he thinks this country is a joke!!!! Sincerly, a black women with a special needs child!

  11. To A Black Women with a special needs child….

    I hope you and your family are doing as well as expected….however,

    I do not see, how you can extrapolate that from his comment, all be it dumb….was saying that he thinks this country is a joke? How did you get there?

    If anything, he must think that his learning process on being a better bowler was quite clunky and mishap filled, of trials and errors…maybe he thought his skills were a joke…I find it ironic….if he really knew how well a
    Special Olympian bowled, quite well I might add… he might have thought better of it…

    gee, he’s human….

  12. […] Governor Sarah Palin issued a relatively mild rebuke of President Obama’s Tonight Show gaffe, but some are trying to paint her as a hypocrite on the issue. The narrative springs from a […]

  13. “Geez, Jax–he screwed up, he admitted it and apologized for it. It’s not like he went and started a war in a sovereign nation based on false pretenses or anything like that. What do you say we lighten up a bit, eh?”

    But enough about Don Imus.

  14. […] I wrote a piece over the weekend debunking the hot new Barack Obama TelePrompTer narrative, and sure enough, this attack is gaining legs all over the blogosphere. The heat on this story derives from both The Drudge Report’s linking last week to the recently-launched “Barack Obama’s TelePrompTer’s Blog,” and the President’s subsequent gaffe on The Tonight Show. […]

  15. […] Hypocrisy’ Argument UnfairAlaska Governor Sarah Palin issued a relatively mild rebuke of President Obama’s Tonight Show gaffe, but some are trying to paint her as a hypocrite on the issue. The narrative springs from a […]

  16. […] the economy, to the exclusion of an 11 minute ESPN segment, and an appearance on the Tonight Show (good advice in hindsight, but not for the reasons they […]


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