Obamateurism of the Day

Plenty of outrage got expressed last week over Barack Obama’s interview with Jon Stewart, in which he said that the deaths of four Americans in Libya was “not optimal“:


Frankly, I didn’t think this was as outrageous as many on the Right did; clearly, Obama was repeating Stewart’s word choice, not his own. Of course, Stewart is a comic that gets paid to be snarky and irreverent, even with the worst of stories, while Obama is an experienced politician who should know better than to adopt that kind of language. I though Bernie Goldberg had the best take on the issue:

Mr. Obama didn’t come up with the word “optimal” all by himself. In his question to the president about the administration’s handing of the Benghazi attack, Stewart said, “I would say, and even you would admit, it was not the optimal response – at least to the American people as far as all of us being on the same page.”

That’s when the president made his “If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal” comment.

The president made a mistake. When interviewed, you don’t let the interviewer put negative words in your mouth. But that’s all it was: a mistake. It wasn’t a sign of disrespect; he wasn’t belittling the death of four Americans. And conservatives know it!

I agree. Is it an Obamateurism? Sure — but it’s hardly a sign that Obama was indifferent to the deaths of four Americans.

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!