Do we need a White House literacy program?

posted at 1:40 pm on June 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

This isn’t the first time we’ve had to ask this question, but this may be a more embarrassing example of the problem.  My friend Scott Johnson at Power Line notes a multitude of formatting and spelling errors in an official release on the White House web site.  The Obama administration published an important letter to G-20 leaders on the eve of a critical meeting on economic policy, one in which Obama wants to assert American leadership and demand a continuation of his Keynesian policies.  Unfortunately, this letter should give pause as to whether the Obama White House can handle a word-processing program, let alone economic policy (via HA reader ClericalGal on Twitter).

Here are a few examples, emphasis mine:

For our part, we will pursue measures to SUppOit the recovery in private demand and return the unemployed to work. …

At the same time, we recognize the impoltance of setting a credible medium-term fiscal path: that is why my Administration will cut the budget deficit we inherited in halfby FY 2013 and work to reduce our fiscal deficit to 3 percent ofGDP by FY 2015, which will stabilize the
debt-to-GDP ratio at an acceptable level in that year.

Some of the rest of the errors were more, er, impoltant:

* more effective ji’Qlllework for winding down large global firms, along with principles for thefillallcial sector to make afair and substantial contribution towards payingfor allY burdens it creates in a way that protects taxpayers, creates a level playing field, and reduces risks to our economies.

I look fOlward to seeing you in Toronto and reaffhming our unity of purpose and resolve.

There exists one more substantial error, albeit one that has repeatedly been made by the Obama administration since it took office.  Deficits are a function of annual budgeting.  One can inherit a national debt, but not a budget deficit … except for the fiscal year in which a President assumes office.  Unfortunately for Obama’s argument, that budget — FY2009 — never came to George W. Bush for his signature.  Instead, the Democrats controlling both chambers in Congress played keepaway through continuing resolutions (including a Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama), only getting fully passed when Obama signed the omnibus spending bill to complete the FY2009 budget in March 2009.

It seems that the Obama White House has literacy problems in more than just word processing.  In any case, we had better hope that the actual letter as transmitted to the G-20 went through more oversight than it did before getting published to the White House’s official web site.

By the way, it’s been almost a day since it was posted, and it’s still not corrected.  In case someone gets around to it today, I’ve archived the original here.

Update: I’ve gotten a number of e-mails saying these look like artifacts of optical character recognition (OCR) from a scanner or fax machine output.  I’d agree with that, but that hardly lets the White House off the hook, either.  Anyone using OCR knows that it requires a lot of fixing on the back end.

Update II: So Right notes that the White House published the PDF as a correction to its website earlier today.  I think it’s impoltant to keep up with the developments in this story.

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Don L on June 20, 2010 at 6:34 AM



concernedsenior on June 20, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Oh, yeah, really high paid. I can’t afford real oak floors for the 3500 sq ft. guest house for my mother-in-law on my compound because my pay’s so lousy. /s

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 20, 2010 at 4:30 PM

SMART Power!!!1111111111111!!!!!!!!!!!eleventy

jukin on June 20, 2010 at 4:50 PM


BKennedy on June 20, 2010 at 10:19 PM

…SUppOit the recovery..

Everybody knows this is perfectly good gangland diction.

Remember the long-ago Kefauver Hearings where, when any question was asked of Willy Sutton, Willy responded:

“I WOint Rememba”


landlines on June 20, 2010 at 10:48 PM

GAHH!!! I hate when Ed and Allah do that! the de-motivational poster used for the title of this post looks cool, but you cant read the text! Then I go looking for the original and have to wade through all kinds of filth to see what the dang thing said. :(

-Wasteland Man.

P.S. …And i cant find the original one for this.

WastelandMan on June 21, 2010 at 1:28 AM

Maybe its some kind of creative writing course going on?? Johnny Ubama can`t read. Er . . . uh . . . tah . . . can`t write right either . . . .or even speak . . . Hukt on fonix werekt four me! Corpsemen and Cinqo de kwarto and something ter `nother baseball arena . . . . and castles made of sand slips into the sea eventually . . . . at least Jimi Hendrix wrote it that way on purpose. Arena means sand in Spanish but you know Ubama noze all about dat!!

Sherman1864 on June 21, 2010 at 7:05 AM

I am vpitting senom here! And the Underbama Regime deserves every drop of it!

Sherman1864 on June 21, 2010 at 7:07 AM

it`s. Look who is calling the kettle black. Woe is me!

Sherman1864 on June 21, 2010 at 7:09 AM

Issues like this make it hard to SUppOit the President. This stuff is impoltance, darnit! More effect ji’Qlllework would have trapped these errors!!

itsspideyman on June 21, 2010 at 7:31 AM

This just accentuates the incompetency of this presidency. We will not be the strong nation that usually attends the G20 this year. We are going to get our A@@ kicked around. Thanks to Obama.

SC.Charlie on June 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM

thefillallcial sector

That’s the name of my new band.

JusDreamin on June 21, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Those aren’t errors. It is a cypher code to jihadists around the world to help better prepare them for attacks!

jeffn21 on June 21, 2010 at 11:54 AM

principles for thefillallcial sector to make afair

Did they appoint Monica Lewinsky to this sector of affairs?

more effective ji’Qlllework for winding down large global firms

Gee, my IQ will work too! Or is that quill-work with a feather pen?

It’s lucky for the White House that the message was garbled. What DO they plan to do “for winding down large global firms”…like General Motors, Chrysler, AIG, BP, and how many other “bailed out” businesses? Is this a coded blueprint for socialist-fascist takeover of “large global firms?”

Steve Z on June 21, 2010 at 12:17 PM


Obama is secretly Klingon. I knew it! I knew it!

Mary in LA on June 21, 2010 at 12:51 PM

And the White House would have to OCR their own letter because…?

mojo on June 21, 2010 at 5:04 PM