Off His Game

It is becoming clear that Barack Obama, off the teleprompter, is a genuine danger to himself and to others, notably Democrats. During the campaign, Senator Obama was mostly spot-on with his stump speeches and was adequate in the debates. Now President Obama is still in a campaign mode. But his choice of communication channels – for example Jay Leno, town hall meetings – has led to recent embarrassing gaffes.

The Los Angeles Times Not bowled over by Obama’s Special Olympics joke tells of one Obama supporter that takes umbrage with his Leno appearance

When she met Barack Obama two years ago, Caitlin Cox proudly wore the two bronze medals she had won at the Special Olympics. The then-Illinois senator grinned as she showed him pictures of her signature bubble-gum-pink bowling ball and posed for photographs with her.

Cox, who has Down syndrome, excitedly recalls that meeting each time she sees Obama’s photo on a magazine cover or hears him mentioned on TV. Her ears perked up again Friday morning as her parents discussed the president at breakfast.

Her mother, Suzanne Thompson, told her that Obama had made a joke about the Special Olympics on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Thursday and that it might have hurt a lot of people. Cox, 21, dropped her head on the table and, after a brief silence, said the news made her sad.

Makes me sad, too. I had hoped for more. And later

Obama’s comment also hit close to home for David Axelrod, the president’s top political guru and a senior White House advisor.

Axelrod’s daughter, Lauren, is a longtime Special Olympian who has competed in swimming and track and field events.

Oh snap! Good one there, Barack.

Then, recently at a town hall meeting in California, speaking of AIG

“We had to step in, it was the right thing to do, even though it is infuriating,” Obama said, explaining why the government needed to bail out the troubled banks.

“The same is true with AIG,” he said. “It was the right thing to do to step in. Here’s the problem. It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.”

This comes on the heels of Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) ill-advised suggestion that AIG executives commit suicide. Let’s not forget that people in the same tax bracket as AIG executives pay, by far, the lion’s share of all individual income taxes. So I’d hate for all these executives to commit suicide. It would almost certainly increase the taxes I would have to pay.

Let’s leave the “rhetorical flourishes” to Joe Biden. He has had a lifetime to perfect his standup routine. Sure Joe sticks his foot in his mouth on a routine basis; but he remains an affable figure. One or two more comments such as the Special Olympics “joke” and Obama will have to spend considerable time and energy to shake the notion that he is a complete asshat.

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