Stay Classy, Mr. President-Elect
Did you hear Barack Obama's howler at today's press conference?
Between all the "uh's" and "um's" (too bad you can't use a Teleprompter during a Q&A session), the next president managed to get off this joke, at Nancy Reagan's expense.
Politico's Ben Smith is one of the few reporters to include the tasteless comment in his coverage. We're guessing he won't have a seat on Air Force One for very long. Most MSM outlets, including those reliable stenographers at the AP, deleted Obama's attempted humor from their stories.
Here's the Associated Press version:
As he prepares to join an exclusive club of presidents, Obama said: "I've spoken to all of them that are living" and has reread some of President Lincoln's writings.
Quite a difference from Obama's actual remarks, as captured on video and in Ben Smith's remarks:
[Obama] in his first post-election press conference that he's spoken to all the former presidents — Carter, Bush, Clinton, as well as the current Bush — and, looser than he's been in months, dares a joke at the expense of the widow of the most recently deceased.
"I have spoken to all of them who are living," he says. "I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances," he says.
He was responding to a question, from the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet, about whether he'd spoken to all of the "living" former presidents.
As others have noted, both Mr. Smith and Barack Obama got it wrong. Former President Gerald Ford passed away after Ronald Reagan, and Nancy never held seances--that was the domain of Mary Todd Lincoln. Mrs. Reagan reportedly consulted with astrologers after her husband nearly died in a 1981 assassination attempt.
And, did we mention that Nancy Reagan is recovering from a fractured pelvis? I'm sure Obama's remarks will speed her healing. But then again, why should the president-elect show any compassion for the 86-year-old widow of the late president, a woman that (to our knowledge) has never said anything unkind about Mr. Obama.
Yeah, he's a uniter all right.
UPDATE: Politico now reports that Obama has called Mrs. Reagan, and offered an apology.