Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on June 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

This one’s a tag-team effort between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, showing a lack of coordination between the President and his Secretary of State.  As events in Honduras unfolded, Obama publicly called the removal of President Manuel Zelaya a coup.  Hillary sent an entirely different message in order to keep American options open:

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was illegal and would set a “terrible precedent” of transition by military force unless it was reversed.

“We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there,” Obama told reporters after an Oval Office meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Meanwhile, Hillary actually did a little research first before using the term “coup,” and contradicted Obama:

Despite Obama’s comments, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the administration was not formally designating the ouster as a military coup for now, a step that would force a cut-off of most U.S. aid to Honduras.

Under U.S. law, no aid — other than for the promotion of democracy — may be provided to a country whose elected head of government has been toppled in a military coup.

So is it a non-coup coup, or just a non-coup?  Even Hillary got confused after this:

“We do think that this has evolved into a coup,” Clinton told reporters, adding the administration was withholding that determination for now.

Asked if the United States was currently considering cutting off aid, Clinton shook her head no.

Note to the administration: if certain terms trigger actions you want to avoid, don’t use them.  And if you say, “We do think that this has evolved into a coup,” then you’re not withholding that determination — you’ve just announced it!  If we have a rule that halts aid after a coup, it’s worse to say that we think it’s a coup but we won’t officially call it that to keep aid flowing than it is to just refrain from calling it a coup in the first place.

It’s Amateur Hour at both the White House and Foggy Bottom.   (Thanks to Matt at Creative Minority Report.)

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Americannodash on June 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I’m not a good style guide or logic meter. I read your comments when I encounter them and think you’re making a good contribution. Post as you are doing, or post as you want to post. But do keep posting.

Loxodonta on June 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM

And they said Bush was stupid BOOOOSH was STOOOOPID.

Terrye on June 30, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Please follow the style guide.

Loxodonta on June 30, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Loxodonta on June 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM
You should run for office Lox with a response like that.

Americannodash on June 30, 2009 at 1:55 PM

And to add to the amateurisms…

Joe Biden has been designated to “oversee” Iraqi Reconciliation. The same Joe Biden who called several times for the division of Iraq into three or more separate states?

coldwarrior on June 30, 2009 at 3:33 PM

President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia stands with democracy and against Zelaya and Chavez!!!!

Says the principal of non-intervention is the one that needs to guide the actions of all nations with regards to the Honduran situation. Basically says that this is a Honduran internal matter and all outside actors need to butt out

El presidente de Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, defendió este martes el principio de la “no intervención” externa ante la crisis política en Honduras.

“El respeto a la no intervención debe ser a todas las horas, frente a todos los casos, no puede ser sesgado, no puede ser en este caso no intervención, en este caso sí intervención”, dijo Uribe a la prensa tras un discurso en el Centro Woodrow Wilson, un instituto de estudios.


Uribe has more guts in his pinky than Obama, the supposed, leader of the free world.

elduende on July 1, 2009 at 4:05 AM

Obama now stands against President Uribe, the most popular anti Communist president in Colombian history (and our staunchest ally in Latin America), and makes common cause with the most hated Communist dictators in Latin American history; Chavez, Ortega, and the Castros.


elduende on July 1, 2009 at 4:08 AM

elduende on July 1, 2009 at 4:08 AM