Obamateurism of the Day

If you’re going to attempt to build confidence as the man in charge during a disaster, it’s best not to get surprised in the middle of making the argument. At the end of the press conference Barack Obama held on Thursday afternoon, he emphasized that he had an iron grip on the response to the oil spill in the Gulf in his very last words to the press:

But there shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged.

Unfortunately, the “fully engaged” President had just been forced to admit that he had no idea what had happened to Liz Birnbaum, head of the MMS, the agency that regulates BP and would have played a crucial role in the federal government’s response:

Allahpundit wrote that Obama should have gone the full Nicholson and told the press that he’d ordered Birnbaum’s firing as a take-charge moment. Well, perhaps, but that would have meant that Obama would have to have known about the circumstances of Birnbaum’s dismissal in the first place. Instead of presenting a picture of cool competence, Obama’s confusion over Birnbaum painted a very different image instead — one that made these last words sound like amateurish braggadocio rather than any realistic self-assessment.

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!