Obamateurism of the Day

One would think that presidential candidates would know better than to try to attempt to use, or even comment on, new technology while out on the campaign trail.  George H. W. Bush just tried to pay polite attention at a grocery store while a clerk explained a bar-code scanner system [see update], and the media played it into a look-how-out-of-touch-the-rich-guy-is story.  Of course, most people wouldn’t consider an iPhone new technology, either:

But when White House trip director Marvin Nicholson handed the president his personal iPhone, Mr. Obama couldn’t get it to work. A reporter who witnessed the scene said the president looked “befuddled.”

“It’s not clear he knows how to dial on an iPhone,” the reporter wrote in a pool report.

Finally, Mr. Obama said, “Oh, I got to dial it in. Hold on, hold on. I can do this. See, I still have a BlackBerry.”

The president then “had a little more trouble dialing,” the pool report said.

And whose fault was that?

The president then has more trouble dialing. When the call didn’t go through, he blamed Mr. Nicholson for having an insufficient cell phone plan.

Well, anyone’s but Obama’s own, of course.

Update: Reader Arthur H offers rather comprehensive correction on my GHWB recollection:

You have made a few mistakes in that sentence:
1. It was at a grocery convention
2. It was not a grocery clerk. It was an NCR representative
3. It was the latest scanner technology
4. Only one member of the media was there and the story did not come from him, so we do not know if President Bush was amazed at the basic function of a scanner or the new technology of a scanner that was not on the market at that time.


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.

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