Saturday, June 25, 2011

Excellent Post From The Chicago Tribune

John Kass

June 26, 2011

President Barack Obama made the mother of all verbal gaffes last week as he invoked a fallen hero while talking to troops who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Naturally, his enemies moved to take advantage. But then, if one of Obama's Republican opponents had made such a gaffe, the Obamanites would grab it and twist it until the other guy screamed.

So the cycle began anew on Thursday.

"First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq," Obama said at Ft. Drum, in upstate New York. "When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there.

"I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn't receiving it posthumously," the president said.

But Sgt. Jared Monti didn't receive the nation's highest award from the president's hands.

Monti was killed in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006, repeatedly facing enemy fire as he tried to rescue a wounded comrade.

On Sept. 17, 2009, the president handed the Medal of Honor to Monti's parents. Obama apparently confused Monti with Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who was the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Giunta was presented the award by Obama in November.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in a statement acknowledging the presidential mistake, said: "At Ft. Drum, the president misspoke when discussing the first Medal of Honor he presented posthumously to Jared Monti. …"

It was neutrally phrased, but for all the verbiage, there was one thing missing:

An apology.

A simple "I'm sorry" would have been nice. But in politics, an apology is seen as a sign of weakness, which is why the non-apology apology has become a modern art form.

The game is all about being the first to slash. And so Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made one of the first cuts in an interview with CBS News.

"People make mistakes but ... when he is not scripted, mistakes seem to happen," Priebus said. "I think the president is a scripted, plasticized candidate and I think America is prepared to relieve him of his job in 2012."

Democrats will naturally be outraged, but have they forgotten how they flayed President George Bush for saying "they misunderestimate me," and discussing how people were "working hard to put food on your family"?

Bush served up all sorts of verbal goulash that got him in trouble. But after 9/11, there were new lines in Bush's face. His hair grew gray. He looked exhausted, and the ridicule came in waves.

Now look at Obama. What do you see?

His hair has gone gray. There are deepening lines in his face. He's exhausted. And when he misspeaks, the ridicule comes in waves.

Should politicians get called out for some of the ridiculous things they say?


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