LENO: Now, are they going to put a basketball — I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. I have been practicing all — (laughter.)
LENO: Really? Really?
THE PRESIDENT: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)
LENO: No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)
LENO: No, that’s very good.
THE PRESIDENT: No, listen, I’m making progress on the bowling, yes.
(HT: Top of the Ticket)
Ouch. There’s a question as to whether or not doing the Leno spot was a good idea to begin with. President Obama is the first sitting president to do a late-night talk show. Not good when one of the first things you have to do afterwards is apologize. Which he did to the Special Olympic Chairman Tim Shriver who said this morning on ABC’s Good Morning America that the apology was moving, but…
“I think it’s important to see that words hurt and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seem as humiliating or a put down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes.”
(HT: World Magazine)
A stereotype that is certainly unfounded. Contrast that to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s message to the 2009 Winter Special Olympics in Boise. Night and day difference. Palin who’s youngest son, Trig, has Downs Syndrome who may be a future Special Olympian had this to say in response to Obama’s joke.
“I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics,” Governor Palin said. “This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world.
“These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will. By the way, these athletes can outperform many of us and we should be proud of them. I hope President Obama’s comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community.”
2nd Update: Frank Schaeffer at HuffPo doesn’t seem to be offended at all about Obama’s poor taste in jokes, but rather uses the opportunity to take a shot at Republicans.
There would be less special Olympians if we had decent health care for all, because less children would be born with problems.
How exactly is that? Healthcare that would pay for pre-natal tests, that would let parents know about their special needs children and therefore present them with the opportunity to abort their children. For instance 9 out of 10 babies diagnosed with Downs’ Syndrome are aborted. That would go higher if pre-natal tests were paid for.
3rd Update: Pundette, I am honored to be considered your Caffeinated friend 🙂