Obamateurism of the Day

You know, there’s a trick to kicking ass and taking names. First, it’s better to do it in reverse order — and then it’s a good idea to get the names right. A week ago, Larry King interviewed Barack Obama, who had trouble telling one CNN interviewer for another. Psst, Mr. President? Larry’s the one without the beard:

KING: This is worse than what you thought it would be?

OBAMA: No, no, no. What I’m saying is it could have…

KING: Oh.

OBAMA: — been even worse. So we realized right away this was going to be a big event, a big problem and that we had to put everything we had into it.

So right away, we started mobilizing our Coast Guard, making sure that we are putting pressure on BP to activate their response. Eventually we ended up sending our top scientists. We now have about 100 of the top scientists from around the world in our national labs — to look over BP’s shoulder in terms of figuring out how they’re going to plug the well.

And we also knew, though, that, ultimately, the only way to relieve the well safely is to drill what are called these relief wells.

Now, BP and other oil companies traditionally just drill one. We said, drill two in case one of them doesn’t work. But that takes some time. It takes about three months.

In the meantime, they’ve been experimenting with a whole bunch of other ways that they can capture the oil. But we’ve had a big spill. And we know that it’s going to be a long response, a long cleanup. And my commitment has always been — for the last 40 some days, to make sure that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the damage, to help clean up, help recover, because this is an area that already got battered during hurricane season. And this is an area that is a concern not only for the economy of the Gulf, but also for an entire way of life.

KING: Have the scientists discussed, what about a hurricane?

OBAMA: You know, Wolf, I did — I had a Situation Room meeting about a week-and-a-half ago where we got the report that this could be a more severe than normal hurricane season.

D’oh! Just imagine if Bush had done that. Heck, if Reagan had done it during his term in office, Democrats would have called for a fitness hearing. These days, though, one could certainly demand that from Obama anyway, after his handling (or non-handling) of the Gulf crisis.

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!