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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Racist.

Inanemergencydial on June 19, 2010 at 1:43 PM

The best”positive action” administration evah.

retiredeagle on June 19, 2010 at 1:43 PM

“Fix the damn memo!”

– Comrade Zero

Cicero43 on June 19, 2010 at 1:44 PM

what, were they typing the thing on their iPods? With their thumbs? While watching tv?

Jewels on June 19, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Those silly, blackberry, texting kids are now in charge.

Knucklehead on June 19, 2010 at 1:44 PM

More and more I find myself asking “How in the hell did these incompetents get the better of the GOP?”

JohnGalt23 on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

So that’s what an Ivy League edjamication gets ya. Smart ones are in power little people. Stand in reverence. ///

conservative pilgrim on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

At least we now know what Michelle does in her spare time…

albill on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Outcome-based administration.

kingsjester on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

I can deal with typos and misspellings, although I admit it makes the White House look careless and sloppy. But the literacy program the White House really needs is financial literacy.

Dee2008 on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Maybe that is why he fights so hard to keep his records hidden. Smartest man evah in the WH. He’s so smart he’s no earthly good.

chemman on June 19, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Obama is pretty far from clueless. People mistake him for a man who believes in government. Obama is a very intelligent THUG, he has mastered the art of the shakedown. He spreads wealth to his cronies and lackeys, and uses strong arm tactics against those who step out of line. His enemy is free, independent thought.

Rode Werk on June 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM

If the OBumble Administration moves true to form, nobody will ever correct the typos, but Obama will assign a new commission with a multibillion dollar budget and two Nobel Prize winners to find out whose asses he should kick.

Cicero43 on June 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM

“we should be prepared to respond again as quickly and as forcefully as needed to aveli a slowdown in economic activity.”

I am concemed by weak private sector demand and continued heavy reliance on expolis by some countries with already large external surpluses.

Maybe I’m just not up to reading at a 10th grade level….

(The more suspicious among us might wonder whether this, the greatest author to ever occupy the White House could have possibly penned this letter — or is this how his manuscripts look before they’re polished by Mr. Ayers?)

notropis on June 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Daddy did they fix spell check yet?

chemman on June 19, 2010 at 1:48 PM

I want to see rock solid proof of those accomplishments. As in, release the school records, scholarship papers, etc. Until then I will always believe that this man is nothing more than a national embarrassment and a national agitator.

Key West Reader on June 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Those silly, blackberry, texting kids are now in charge.

Knucklehead on June 19, 2010 at 1:44 PM

That’s what I thought. Some of those errors are blackberry/iPhone mistakes. I do it all the time, but I generally review & edit before I hit send. I know they’re super busy with all these crises, but seems the WH could do a quick edit before submitting important documents and stuff. Just a thought.

conservative pilgrim on June 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM

This looks like OCR issues to me, not word processing. It’s hard to mis-type “forward” as “fOlward” (how often do your typos involve an accidentally capitalized letter in the middle of a word? Not to mention that “r” and “l” are nowhere near each other on the keyboard), but OCR does that sort of thing all the time.

Someone scanned the text that was to be put into the press release, ran it through OCR, and didn’t spell-check it to find the bizarre recognition errors that always come up. Sloppy, but not illiterate.

valiantdust on June 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM

But he did shoot a 42 on the backside, with a chip in birdie on 17.

Ted Torgerson on June 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM

F U CN RD THS U CN BCM
DEMCRT PRSDNT

Lockstein13 on June 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Someone have a link to a bigger version of the clueless obama poster?

agmartin on June 19, 2010 at 1:50 PM

impoltance

Don’t they have a pill for that now?

Tav on June 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Those “typos” are classic OCR errors. Someone scanned a document and the OCR made some guesses about it, and no one was there to clean up the OCR errors. SLOPPY, CARELESS, INCOMPETENT.

Less on June 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Someone’s imbibing on taxpayer time and dime.

Connie on June 19, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Less on June 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

I think you’re right.

notropis on June 19, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Yeah, this looks like an OCR flap. They’ve scanned a printed document, and used OCR on it, then just published it without checking the OCR result for errors.

Lazy.

Seixon on June 19, 2010 at 1:53 PM

But wait, Obama’s brilliant and surrounds himself with geniuses, this must be Bush’s fault! GWB’s troglodyte staff must have sabotaged the computers!

Or so a troll will doubtless argue.

Sharr on June 19, 2010 at 1:53 PM

ji’Qlllework

And now Obama’s advocating the economic policies of the Klingon Empire. Whatever happened to American exceptionalism?

theperfecteconomist on June 19, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Affurmativ AXXshun.

fogw on June 19, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Okay so this is not direcly related to the terrible typos, but it’s an important point that I never hear discussed. FY 2009 included $700 billion appropriation for TARP and, what, $250 billion for the GSEs? These are extraordinary expenditures. In accounting you have to look at earnings or losses after extraordinary items of income or expenditures. Obama is using those extraordinary expenditures as a baseline to justify his looting of our treasury on behalf of his union cronies.

Ted Torgerson on June 19, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Tav on June 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

The clear winner.

chemman on June 19, 2010 at 1:54 PM

ADultes arein charged.

Tav on June 19, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Less on June 19, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Agreed. With OCR, you trust but verify.

Kafir on June 19, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Looks like one of those talk and type programs like Dragon. I wonder which beer pong player spoke the words that obama will be reading from a teleprompter next week?

Key West Reader on June 19, 2010 at 1:55 PM

These are clearly OCR errors, not typos. No one accidentally types “ji’Qlllework”, that’s the COMPUTER failing to read a scanned document.

Still, it’s pretty sloppy of the relevant staffer not to do a simple spell-check after scanning a document. Sloppy — but not “illiterate”.

valiantdust on June 19, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Someone have a link to a bigger version of the clueless obama poster?

agmartin on June 19, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Here ya go.

Inanemergencydial on June 19, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Looks like the droopy finger work of intoxication or under the influence. Dragging and lazy finger typing.

texriot on June 19, 2010 at 1:57 PM

If you put one hundred monkeys in a room with an equal number of typewriters evenyually you’ll get… well, that.

princetrumpet on June 19, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Those aren’t errors. Those are the new spellings. This is all apart of the Change we could believe in.

Michelle Obama promised us her husband was not going to let us go back to our old ways. That includes old spellings.

keep the change on June 19, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Nobody ever said Hippies know how to spell.

petefrt on June 19, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Oh, thats ok if we do not spell correctly,,,,,none of the kool aid drinkers know if there is anything wrong anyway.

retiredeagle on June 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM

“We inferited the wird processor from te Bush admintration”

- Obamba

PackerBronco on June 19, 2010 at 2:02 PM

I’d bet money it was written by someone who knows Sarah Palin is an unlettered dolt.

Lily on June 19, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Let’s assume they used OCR without checking, which is both incompetent and stupid.

ji’Qlllework

What the hell was written that justified that interpretation?

amerpundit on June 19, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Those kids should know not to type and play beer pong at the same time.

txag92 on June 19, 2010 at 2:02 PM

… and they laughed at the Bushies for using “7 year old” computer software.

J_Crater on June 19, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Imagine if Bush Jr. was sending out letters like this…the media and the liberals would have a field day with it.

But with Obama…they’re all quiet.

*crickets chirping*

Conservative Samizdat on June 19, 2010 at 2:03 PM

I’m an OBAMA scholar!!! I’m an OBAMA scholar!!!

Teacher: Ok, we’ve chanted Obama’s name. That’s enough for today.

Student: Shouldn’t we learn some other stuff?

Teacher: Nah, we’ll just get a job at the White House.

Stoopid…

Claypigeon on June 19, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Let me guess … they wrote this stuff on Obama’s BlackBerry

J_Crater on June 19, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Time for a literacy tzar. I believe there is a recently unemployed education administrator from Detroit who would fit right in.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM

More and more I find myself asking “How in the hell did these incompetents get the better of the GOP?”

JohnGalt23 on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Simple. By announcing to the Iraqi insurgents that if they kept up attacks until Democrats gained control, they would be given control of Iraq. That blew up the human and financial costs of the Iraq war. The insurgents did their part, but Bush was largely successful in winning the war, but at the cost of losing control of Congress, at which point the Democrats could drive the economy into the ground.

pedestrian on June 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Bow down to the SMART POWER you unwashed masses.

53% of the electorate who bother to vote got the SMART POWER they voted for. So, how’s that working out?

johnnybgood on June 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Obama administration policy on any matter: FUBAR.

BuckeyeSam on June 19, 2010 at 2:06 PM

I wun.

BobMbx on June 19, 2010 at 2:07 PM

It just shows how the “elite” think of their “subjects”. Nobody is going to read this anyway,,,,we are just going to “tell” them what to think and do and how to act. Reading, writing and arithmetic are not important,,,,just listen to the community organizer,,,he is the all knowing Oz.

retiredeagle on June 19, 2010 at 2:07 PM

more effective ji’Qlllework for winding down

more effective framework for winding down

J_Crater on June 19, 2010 at 2:09 PM

There’s no excuse for this. I’ve worked as a typesetter, and I know that occasionally a few things do slip through. This, however, is so sloppy it appears they can’t even do decent typing, much less proofreading!

INC on June 19, 2010 at 2:09 PM

ji’Qlllework

Is this a real word or did they make it up!?

I tried googling it and looking it up in the dictionary.

If its real…what the hell does it mean?

Conservative Samizdat on June 19, 2010 at 2:09 PM

It’s a matter of having pride in your work, whether or not you think anyone will read it.

INC on June 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Debt, deficit.

Things that the small people need to worry about. But not us.

~Obama

BobMbx on June 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Good one, lockstein 13.

OT: PJTV has a good Dana Loesch thread re Chris Matthews’s hit piece on TEA parties: http://www.pjtv.com/v/3770

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM

It’s above their pay grade.

onlineanalyst on June 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

ji’Qlllework

A neat one-word phrase to nutshell the incompetence of the Obama administration.

Make ji’Qlllework into a bumper sticker for 2012.

keep the change on June 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

I want to see rock solid proof of those accomplishments. As in, release the school records, scholarship papers, etc. Until then I will always believe that this man is nothing more than a national embarrassment and a national agitator.

Key West Reader on June 19, 2010 at 1:49 PM

From Wiki Answers (I have to say I’m surprised this is even on the web):

Per the Wall Street Journal September 11, 2008, “Obama’s Lost Years,” Obama graduated from Columbia University (to which he transferred after his first two years at Occidental College in California), with a degree in Political Science “without honors”, entailing a GPA less than a 3.0 and greater than a 1.8. His Occidental GPA is unreleased but he transferred from the bottom 15% of his class, which at Occidental today, ranges between 0.11 and 0.20. Bear in mind that admissions standards have risen dramatically since his day.

Eventually, Obama graduated Magna cum Laude from Harvard Law, a title shared by the top 10% of his class. He was not the best student nor in the top 5% at Harvard Law, which have both been common misconceptions indirectly promoted by his campaign. The mere quote on his recommendation which fueled these misconceptions was “Barack was my best student,” coming from a teacher with whom Obama took less than 10% of his cumulative credits in law school.

INC on June 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Maybe it was OCRed after someone printed it out and then couldn’t find the original.

pedestrian on June 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Won’t thefillallcial sector cure the impoltance?

pappy on June 19, 2010 at 2:13 PM

More and more I find myself asking “How in the hell did these incompetents get the better of the GOP?”

JohnGalt23 on June 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM

As someone who was intimately involved in the campaign, the second installment covering the post primary phase of election ’08 is not yet finished. But, if you are interested, the way Team ‘O’ beat HRC is quite informative in how they employ The Chicago Way in winning elections. The piece is not overly long but it is exuastively researched with extensive links to documentation.

For an insider’s view of election ’08, here is pt I,….

http://papundits.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/barack%e2%80%99s-magical-mystery-tour/

Archimedes on June 19, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Ebon….oh, never mind.

jackmac on June 19, 2010 at 2:16 PM

12:18pm Mountain Daylight Time. Still not fixed.

Captain Scarlet on June 19, 2010 at 2:18 PM

I don’t understand the problem. This is typical liberal dogma, it doesn’t matter if you did it right. It only matters that you put forth the effort.

Sheesh, get a grip and understand how our education system works in this country.

ButterflyDragon on June 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM

will cut the budget deficit we inherited

They nailed the spelling of “inherited”.

Too bad “deficits” are annual, and Congress has been controlled by Democrats for over 4 years, and the White House for a year and a half, so whatever spending they are stuck with was “inherited” from themselves.

Are they even planning to pass a budget this year? Or are they just going to not pass one, and claim they have done away with spending altogether?

forest on June 19, 2010 at 2:19 PM

From a trusted source…

Disturbing and mesmerizing whispering that the Oval Office is the scene of stormy and romantic melodrama between POTUS and his most senior and trusted advisers. Whispering that POTUS is sleeping poorly and is much aggrieved at slights, shortfalls, interruptions. Whispering that POTUS is vulnerable to jet lag. That POTUS has returned to chain-smoking. That POTUS hesitates to heed his advisers, because POTUS frets that he is being sand-bagged by experts, allies, confidantes. Whispering that POTUS frailties most in display in West Wing settings. That POTUS evidences a Nixonian persecution mania. Can any of this be confirmed? Not easily. Less detailed, POTUS is said to express his opinion to pals in Chicago that he dislikes his job. Wilder whisperings that some pros are now weighing that POTUS try an LBJ exit after one term – rather than face a Carter collapse.

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Everything they do is sloppy and careless. They simply don’t give a sh!t because the top dog doesn’t give a sh!t. I’ve seen it happen many times in organizations large and small.

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I wanna bee a obomma scholer.

betsyz on June 19, 2010 at 2:22 PM

what, were they typing the thing on their iPods? With their thumbs? While watching tv?

Jewels on June 19, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Probably during a round of beer pong.

ddrintn on June 19, 2010 at 2:23 PM

My, my, my. How articulate.

SouthernGent on June 19, 2010 at 2:23 PM

INC on June 19, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Interesting. Thank you.

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 2:24 PM

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM

He’s the classic anti-leader.

AUINSC on June 19, 2010 at 2:25 PM

In reference to my comment above, the source for Occidental is listed as http://www.biography.com/featured-biography/barackobama/bio2.jsp. This page doesn’t exist anymore.

INC on June 19, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Think of this as an example of the excellent quality education one can obtain as a student being rammed through the Chicago Public School System these days.

pilamaye on June 19, 2010 at 2:26 PM

When is someone going to come out with a new graph like the one we’ve seen a million times, most call it “Deep Impact”? It shows the federal deficit under Bush and then under Obama? I think I’ve heard the 2010 budget is worse? I’d like to see a new chart. Got any suggestions?

UnderstandingisPower on June 19, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Apparently this document was scanned to prepare it for posting? I’ve seen this kind of result from optically scanning documents and processing them with a word-recognition software. Maybe these glitches are typos, but they look more like the artifacts of a scan-and-recognize sequence.

There’s something about that relatively arcane possibility that seems really off-kilter. The whole thing is weird. It’s one thing to see common words misspelled, as the local 7-11 or taco shop is likely to do when its employees print out homemade signs on 8.5×11 paper. It’s another thing entirely to present documents laden with gibberish that only happens in convoluted processing.

It’s like the wheels came off the bus months ago, and the bus has been stranded on the eroding side of a cliff and is now starting its slide into the snake-infested canyon.

J.E. Dyer on June 19, 2010 at 2:27 PM

I think they scanned the original and translated the scan to text.

Nonetheless, it’s consistent with their economic illiteracy and general sloppiness.

I remember working a summer job for a pizza restaurant that got purchased by some mobsters. They were prone to this kind of error as well.

It’s easier for the civilized to masquerade as barbarians than it is for barbarians to masquerade as civilized. The truth always becomes evident — just sooner for the barbarians.

mr.blacksheep on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 2:24 PM

You’re welcome. I’d prefer to have confirmation from a second source. If anyone has it, I’d love to see it. Even without that, I’ve yet to be convinced that Obama is as smart as the hype says he is.

INC on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

POTUS is said to express his opinion to pals in Chicago that he dislikes his job

Kermit on June 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Like I said, I’ve seen it enough to recognize it pretty quickly and it manifests itself in large and small ways – like typo filled important external communications described above. He simply does not give a sh!t about an official communication filled with typos or an out of control well in the GoM. He’s checking out…

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Is there a Noebel prize for spelling?

No? See, that’s the problem; Obama doesn’t know who to hire to proof read the press releases.

bitsy on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

haha *Nobel

bitsy on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Maybe they’ve been playing “PONG” drinking games again.

Ricohoc on June 19, 2010 at 2:29 PM

He’s the classic anti-leader.

AUINSC on June 19, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Good find…I’ll read that closely later. Thanks…

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:29 PM

thefillallcial sector

Ha…I think that’s Bill Clinton’s department.

ddrintn on June 19, 2010 at 2:30 PM

By the way, it’s been almost a day since it was posted, and it’s still not corrected.

Two choices there:

1. No one is reading the White House web site.
2. The people who read the White House web site don’t notice the typo’s.

Also, apparently, not only are Obama’s speeches given for a 9.8 grade comprehension level, his correspondence is written at 6.8 grade writing level.

“Daddy have you fixed the typo’s yet?”

SlaveDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:31 PM

Yup,,,,there are a lot of “jobs” over there at “The White Hut” that are filled by street people that do not have a clue. They are however picking up a paycheck drawn on the taxpayer and sending it back to their relatives in Chicago. Must be part of that program of “Jobs Americans Won’t Do”.

retiredeagle on June 19, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Well, these are very funny comments. But, really, with the other pathetic mistakes by the “support” staff of this President it is obvious that he has chosen people that have very limited experience.

Would any other country put something like that on its President’s website??? No. People at senior levels of government have pride…pride in their country, their President and themselves. We seem to have slackers.

r keller on June 19, 2010 at 2:35 PM

And they call us who live in the South rubes?

madmonkphotog on June 19, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Both hilarious and embarrassing but not surprising.

OTOH … I always knew that Obama had to be speaking some made-up language because what I was hearing him say didn’t seem to be what the media was hearing him say… ;)

Texas Gal on June 19, 2010 at 2:35 PM

He’s checking out…

TheBigOldDog on June 19, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Burdensome to not be able to vote “Present” on the tough stuff. But, riding in that Air Force One and having military salute is just so awesome. I wonder if Michelle nags.:)

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Well, I’m sure Obama will notice these mistakes once he get’s back from playing golf with Joe Biden…yes, he really is. What’s another word for a total lack of self-awareness?

AUINSC on June 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM

This stuff is probably written by Annenberg Challenge grant winners.

pain train on June 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM

I wonder if Michelle nags.:)

a capella on June 19, 2010 at 2:36 PM

She probably has a mug that reads…Worlds Greatest Nag! ;)

capejasmine on June 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Well, I’m sure Obama will notice these mistakes once he get’s back from playing golf with Joe Biden…yes, he really is. What’s another word for a total lack of self-awareness?

AUINSC on June 19, 2010 at 2:39 PM

What better place to give Biden the news that he’s out, and Hillary is in! LOL

capejasmine on June 19, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3