Obamateurism of the Day

What’s a great way to connect to an important audience, one that you desperately need to have any chance of success in an upcoming election? How about implying that they can’t be trusted around you with … forks? Despite Barack Obama’s appearing at literally dozens of fundraising dinners over the last several months, the attendees of NALEO — a Hispanic voter group — had to surrender their utensils before Obama would speak:

Does a fork or dinner knife pose an unacceptable danger to President Barack Obama?

One wouldn’t think so, given the hundreds of lunches and dinners he’s attended ranging from state dinners to political fundraisers to run-of-the-mill stops on the rubber-chicken circuit.

However, at one such lunch Friday afternoon, guests heard an unusual announcement that they needed to hand over their silverware for security reasons.

“It’s very important that you use your utensils as soon as possible,” National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials board member Raquel Regalado told about 1000 delegates at the group’s annual conference.

Politico reports that the Secret Service made the request after finding out that Obama would address the group immediately after the meal was concluded. Supposedly this is just routine, but Josh Gerstein and Reid Epstein note that Obama appears frequently at dinners without having the Secret Service round up silverware — usually at fundraisers. Apparently, people who give money aren’t as suspicious as people who don’t.

Even assuming this is standard operating procedure, why not just ask NALEO to put a little more time between the meal and the President’s appearance, or to delay the meal until afterward? Didn’t Obama or his campaign staff consider how this would look to the Hispanic activists in the room?  And for that matter, the Secret Service is also providing protection to Mitt Romney, who spoke the day before at 1:20 in the afternoon, shortly after lunch.  Did Romney’s security detail demand that the attendees be stripped of their silverware too?

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!

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