President Obama’s historic appearance on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” was accompanied by a foot-in-the-mouth quip about the Special Olympics he later regretted.
Talking about his dismal bowling skills, Obama said he’d been practicing and had gotten his score up to 129.
“Oh, no, that’s very good,” Leno told Obama.
“It was like the Special Olympics or something,” Obama joked, drawing laughter from the funnyman and his audience.
Actually, I didn’t notice Leno laughing . . . maybe because he knows better than to make an unfunny schoolyard crack about the Special Olympics.
Which all is what it is — no offense intended obviously — but somehow the Times missed that part of the interview . . . strange, because it was probably the most interesting thing he said. (Later on, the Times television critic Alessandra Stanley filed this review (not included in the print edition) that mentioned an “implolitic” moment in the second-to-last paragraph.)
But seriously folks, here’s the takeaway — President Obama shouldn’t try so hard to be liked or be funny. It’s unbecoming of a President. Let Bob Dole be funny. Let John McCain want to be liked. I don’t expect much from Presidents, but this is one thing I kind of demand. And the sad thing is that I think Bush 43, of all people, really understood this.
Obama is many things — Hope! Change! Etc.! — basically a lot of stuff that we all aspire to be or aspire, uh, something or other. What he should not be is the first 84 minutes of The Ringer.