Obama infuriates Poles with reference to ‘Polish death camp’
posted at 11:23 am on May 30, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
The smartest man ever to occupy the White House has done it again. During a Medal of Freedom ceremony on Wednesday, President Obama committed the most egregious offense against the nation of Poland since another Democrat, Jimmy Carter, told its people, “I desire the Poles carnally.”
At least Carter could fall back on the excuse that he was addressing the Poles in what turned out to be badly mistranslated Polish. Obama was speaking English. In his prepared remarks honoring World War II hero Jan Karski, he referred to a Nazi prison in Poland as a “Polish death camp.” The gaffe prompted outrage from Polish leaders, including former President and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, who said the phrasing confuses the villains with their victims. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski demanded an apology for what he called an “outrageous mistake,” adding that “it’s a pity that ignorance and incompetence overshadowed such a momentous ceremony.”
Luckily, the White House has had plenty of practice neutralizing the occasional presidential misstep over the last three and a half years. An administration spokesman immediately rose to the occasion by noting “that the president had visited the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial while in Poland and that he has repeatedly discussed the bravery of Poles during World War II.” They could have added that Obama’s uncle liberated Auschwitz. Oh, wait….
OK, so maybe history isn’t Obama’s strong suit (which would also explain his references to the U.S. as the country that “built the Intercontinental Railroad” and “invented the automobile”). Everyone knows his forte is constitutional law. It’s not like you’d ever hear him accuse the U.S. Supreme Court of “judicial activism” or dismiss the high court as “an unelected group of people [who] would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”
Look, maybe the president is just tired after campaigning non-stop for the last five years. That would explain his reference—twice in one week—to his “sons,” of which at last count he still has zero. He does have two daughters, Malia and Sasha, and he knows their ages (more or less), not to mention his own birthday (less).
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