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May 25, 2010

Reprint: The Obama and Biden Gaffe Machine

This article is a reprint of one of mine from March 20, 2009 that I wrote for the original PonderPost blog. It is reprinted here due to the remake of PonderPost.

Everybody makes mistakes. As in life, in politics there is no exception to this axiom. However, while it is understandable that a new administration will make a few extra mistakes, some of the recent ones by Obama and Biden are being noted around the world. For example, British Telegraph.co.uk editor Toby Harnden’s “Top 10 Gaffes by Barack Obama and Joe Biden” post found its way at the top of the Drudge Report today. That means it’s being read worldwide.

In looking Harnden’s list over, most are rather serious gaffes (other than Obama mistaking a White House window for a door). Many are poor attempts at humor such as Obama’s suggestion that Nancy Reagan had seances in the White House and his Special Olympics bowling joke on the Jay Leno show last night. Perhaps it was that statement that prompted this list.

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I think one of the most serious gaffes, though, occurred over the gift exchange between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Obama. Gordon Brown presented Obama with a pen holder carved from wood taken from the HMS Gannett which was an anti-slavery vessel (wood from which her sister ship [HMS Resolute] was taken to make the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office). Brown’s gift also included the commissioning certificate of HMS Resolute and a first edition copy of the seven-volume biography of the great English leader Winston Churchill. Sadly, Obama’s gift in return was a 25 DVD set of classic American films.  Ironically, this set, which is readily available over the counter, was not in the correct DVD format for UK audiences. (US and UK formats for DVDs are different and many players cannot play both formats.)

Here’s one take on this serious gifting oversight:

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Imagine if President George W. Bush had made this mistake. Would we have ever heard the end of the outrage for tarnishing our image abroad? So, my question now is what will Obama and Biden do next to embarrass this country?

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