Now we can understand why the president is so reliant on the teleprompter. Without his script, he turns into Veep Joe Biden!
And is it any wonder why events are being closed to the press (even those hosted by the press).
Of course, it started this week on St. Patty’s Day when Obama thanked himself for inviting everyone to the White House when the prompter (possibly in retaliation for feeling under-appreciated) loaded the wrong script (I still wonder whether Obama was making a joke at the first script error … but cameras weren’t on hand for us to see).
The next day, Obama compared AIG executives to suicide bombers. As much as we all might be pissed at AIG, they’re not suicide bombers. And then the prez has the audacity to say the AIG bonuses are a distraction and that Washington needs to get away from the blame game and work toward solutions.
And it all came to a head yesterday.
During his visit to Southern California (where spring is moving in wonderfully), the president said this about gas mileage:
The 1908 Model T — think about this — the 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 2008. Think about that. A hundred years later and we’re getting less gas mileage, not better, on SUVs.
Well, that’s not true (even though Hillary spouted the same false fact off during her failed campaign for the Democratic nomination).
And everyone by now has heard the joke he made about the Special Olympics on “The Tonight Show.” In case you haven’t, here’s the exchange (from the transcript released by the White House):
MR. LENO: Now, are they going to put a basketball –- I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.
MR. OBAMA: No, no. I have been practicing all –- (laughter.)
MR. LENO: Really? Really?
MR. OBAMA: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)
MR. LENO: No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.
MR. OBAMA: It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)
MR. LENO: No, that’s very good.
MR. OBAMA: No, listen, I’m making progress on the bowling, yes.
Personally, the comment doesn’t offend. I feel vindicated for all of the times I’ve had fun imitating the “special” people in our world and bursting into laughter at the ones employed at the local Wal-Mart.
But I’m not the president. He should be above all of that.
And the sad part is that the “Special Olympics” comment is detracting from the rest of the interview. Obama explained in the most clear, concise way I’ve heard yet how AIG got into the mess it’s in and why it was supposedely “too big to fail.”
Well, look, here’s what happened. You’ve got a company, AIG, which used to be just a regular, old insurance company. Then they insured a whole bunch of stuff and they were very profitable and it was a good, solid company.
Then they decided –- some smart person decided, let’s put a hedge fund on top of the insurance company and let’s sell these derivative products to banks all around the world –- which are basically guarantees or insurance policies on all these sub-prime mortgages.
And this smart person said, you know, none of these things are going to go bust; this sub-prime thing, it’s a great deal, you can make a lot of profit. So they sold a whole bunch of them –- billions and billions of dollars. And what happened is, is that when people started going bust on sub-prime mortgages you had $30 worth of debt on every dollar worth of mortgage –- and the whole house of cards just started falling down.
So the problem with AIG was that it owed so much and was tangled up with so many banks and institutions that if you had allowed it to just liquidate, to go into bankruptcy, it could have brought the whole financial system down. So it was the right thing to do to intervene in AIG.
That’s what he should be doing, explaining this whole mess to the country in a way we can all understand it. Instead, he’s out and about making stupid mistakes that stem from trying to appear “cool.”
But maybe that’s the plan.
In case you missed it, you can watch the whole Leno-Obama interview here.