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President Obama swats a fly, gets a free flytrap

June 17, 2009 |  3:09 pm

When President Obama granted an interview to CNBC's John Harwood, who could have guessed that the result would be a slap heard 'round the world and a gift from PETA?

Obama planned to tackle tough issues like the economy and healthcare, but a nagging fly made the interview difficult. Eventually the president managed a well-aimed swat, and the insect was history. As the camera panned to the dead bug on the floor, the president seemed pleased with his work. "That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker," he said.  (His response was hardly Oscar Wilde-worthy; the Guardian's Adam Rutherford wrote: "My one criticism is that the prez failed to seize the opportunity to make a Schwarzeneggeresque pithy one-liner. Something like, 'This is a no-fly zone, sucker,' would have done quite adequately.")

Now, you know and we know that PETA loves a controversy, which is why we were a bit surprised at the animal rights group's subdued response. Although TMZ tried to stir up trouble, we were impressed by PETA blogger Alisa Mullins' post on the subject. "In a nutshell, our position is this," Mullins wrote. "He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act." 

Of course, PETA didn't miss an opportunity to lobby for ethical bug treatment: They promptly sent Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a rather ingenious insect-transporting device with a trapdoor and a nice long handle so you don't have to get too close to your uninvited guest.

-- Lindsay Barnett

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