Some Obamateurisms are so obvious, everyone forwards it to you, and this is one of them. When candidates build their bios for the campaign, they like to include all of the sweet personal stories possible in order to endear themselves to the voters. That’s especially true if the candidate and his/her spouse “meet cute,” or even if they met professionally, as did the Obamas.
Unfortunately, if the candidate can’t keep that story straight, then it makes him look like a fool or a BS artist:
“I don’t know if anybody else will meet their future wife or husband in class like I did, but I’m sure that you’re all going to have wonderful careers,” he said as he warmed up the audience before delivering a commencement speech at an economics school in Moscow Tuesday.
Obama seemed to be playing off an introduction that referred to him meeting his future wife, Michelle Robinson, while he was a student. But the truth is that the couple met not “in class” but at a law firm in Chicago, Sidley Austin, in 1989. Obama was a summer associate (essentially a legal intern) there and Robinson was an attorney completing her first year at the firm. Both attended Harvard Law School, but Michelle graduated in the spring of 1988, while Barack Obama did not arrive at the Cambridge, Mass., campus until that fall.
I’ve been married fifteen years and have known the First Mate for almost twenty. In fact, I met her for the first time in the same year as the Obamas met. For some reason, I don’t have more than one story about how we met, and I suspect most married couples also only have one story (or can’t recall it at all, in some cases). In this case, the adaptation for this audience is particularly silly, since the Obamas never attended the same school at the same time.
I wonder how many other anecdotes change according to the audience. I also wonder how many other policy pledges change for the same reason.
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!