Obamateurism of the Day

For our final OOTD of the week, I chose from plenty of candidates one that encapsulates what the OOTD is all about, not just in terms of amateurish stumbles by this President, but the differences in how the media covers them as opposed to his predecessor.  Remember when George W. Bush got asked to name some of his mistakes after being accused of never acknowledging them, and couldn’t name one?  The media had a field day for the rest of his presidency with that, and a meme of arrogance stuck to Bush.

The same thing happened to Barack Obama this week, but if Byron York hadn’t caught it, we never would have known:

On Wednesday, President Obama held a town hall at the headquarters of Facebook in Palo Alto, California, during which he was asked, “If you had to do anything differently during your first four years, what would it be?”  Obama, it turns out, is no better at analyzing his own missteps than Bush.

The president began his response haltingly, pointing out that he has actually been in office just two and a half years, and “I’m sure I’ll make more mistakes in the next year and a half.”  But what mistakes has he already made? “There are all sorts of day-to-day issues where I say to myself, oh, I didn’t say that right, or I didn’t explain this clearly enough,” Obama said, “or maybe if I had sequenced this plan first as opposed to that one, maybe it would have gotten done quicker.”

But the president mentioned no actual mistakes. Next, he brought up the health care battle, not to admit error but to praise the work of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in pushing the national health care bill through Congress.  The fight got pretty complicated, Obama said, “and I’ve asked myself sometimes is there a way that we could have gotten it done more quickly and in a way that the American people wouldn’t have been so frustrated by it?”  Was that possibly a mistake?  Obama quickly excused himself.  “I’m not sure I could have because there’s a reason why it hadn’t gotten done in a hundred years,” the president explained.  “It’s hard to fix a system as big as health care and as complicated as our health care system.”  After a good bit of talking, Obama still had not mentioned any mistake or anything he would do differently.

Gee, too bad the President doesn’t read this daily feature, because we have hundreds of them right here.  And in fact, Obama managed to make another one (at least) in the same townhall meeting when describing what is purportedly his economic plan, as I mentioned yesterday:

“In the short term, Democrats and Republicans now agree we’ve got to reduce the debt by about $4 trillion over the next 10 years. And I know that sounds like a lot of money — it is. But it’s doable if we do it in a balanced way.”

There are three major errors in this short statement: (1) Obama’s proposing to reduce deficits, not debt; (2) Republicans have actually proposed to cut more than $4 trillion in ten years; and (3), Obama told the nation a week earlier that his plan took 12 years, not 10.

Come to think of it, the media didn’t bother to report any of those mistakes, either.  If a Democrat makes a mistake in the White House forest, does the media ever make a sound?

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!