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A week after his 57-state remark, Obama puts himself in the wrong city

(UPDATE: Video added below.)

The nightmare comes in different versions. You show up for the first day of class, but it's really the final exam. You're introduced to speak to a large audience and totally forget what you're supposed to say.

For a politician, especially one running as a uniter for president of these 57 United States, it's something else. And just now it happened up in South Dakota which is right next to Iowa, which means they are different states.

The Democratic frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama of another state, Illinois, had an enthusiastic double-barreled stump introduction from two local luminaries, former Sens. Tom Daschle and George McGovern, who was an equally enthusiastic supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton until recently. But he changed his mind.

McGovern knows a little about presidential races, having once been the Democratic presidential candidate himself way back in 1972. He lost though.

Both South Dakotans lavished all sorts of praise on Obama, according to reporters present, including The Times Nicholas Riccardi. As the large, enthusiastic crowd of some 7,000 supporters roared and waved "We can do it" signs and Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" blared, Obama bounded onto stage, grabbed the microphone and said, "Thank you, Sioux City!"

Trouble is, Obama was in Sioux Falls.

So was the crowd, which suddenly fell silent. Where are those Southwest Airlines get-away flights when you need them?

"I'm sorry," Obama quickly caught himself. "Sioux Falls. I've been in Iowa too long." Now, that line may not go over too well in the Hawkeye State, which gave him his first big caucus win way back in January.

Obama went on to give yet another rousing stump speech, seeking support in the state's primary June 3, the last one along with Montana. The Dakota crowd was enthusiastic. And the freshman Illinois senator threw in several extra references to South Dakota for good measure.

On to who knows where now? More below.

And a hat tip to Cassy Fiano.

(UPDATE: In its story today on Obama's appearance and his geographic gaffe, the local newspaper's website, the ArgusLeader.com, made its own gaffe with the initial headline: "Obama starts speech with a gaff" )

— Andrew Malcolm

Argusleader_3
 
Comments () | Archives (33)

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Let's call it micro-reporting the nearly news.

More non news.

What the Americas want to hear is about the war in Iraq (100 years), the economy (give away money to big oil, make our children pay for it and disguise it as a gas tax holiday), illegal immigration (amnesty) and energy (drill more domestically in 10 years we will peak out with and addition 3% of our total current oil consumption).

No the people who write stories like this one would actually have to do some research and work when Americans are facing the biggest problems in our country in 60 years.

Wow, the youngster is losing his bearings a lot these days. Must be contagious.

Why do I feel that you guys COMPLETELY ignored these gaffes up and until Obama basically secured the Nomination?

In fact, it's been known for some time that Obama is prone to HUGE gaffes. Well in Chicago that is (So you guys were fully aware of it)

Yet you guys (both the media and here) nailed Hillary EVERY chance, EVERY day, EVERY moment you could.


And somehow, I am supposed to believe that media (which is almost exclusively men) didn't do this because of sexism?


Did you guys not get hugged enough by your mothers when your were kids?

Seriously, I'm a guy, at it's obvious to me.


(You're a hoot. You're also deadwrong, of course. We wrote about Obama's gaffes from the beginning. Also all the other candidates. You just weren't paying attention. Or conveniently forgot. Like last summer when he ihad to ssue a public apology for a campaign memo that cast aspersions on Sen. Clinton's ties to the Indian community. Or at the nationally-televised Chicago labor forum where he said he'd demand changes in NAFTA when he met with the president of Canada, which will be hard to do since Canada doesn't have a president.)

After tolerating "Bushisms" for as long as we have, we don't care about Obama's slip of the tongue.

Unfortunately Americans let themselves be carry by the media propaganda of Obama sermons, ..now is when part of the country is waking up and realizing the mistake
America is making by chosing the wrong candidate.

Now here's something truly newsworthy. Someone momentarily confused the names of two very similarly names cities.

Obama misspeaking: "Sious City... err, sorry... Falls"

Clinton 'misspeaking': "Running with heads down, sniper fire, cancelled ceremony because OH THE DANGER!!!" "Err sorry, I 'misspoke', I meant third grade class and leisurely poetry reading with my teenage kid in tow. "

Now which one of those causes me concern? Feel free to take your best guess.

As Obama says, "Our nation is at war. The planet is in peril. The dream that so many generations fought for feels as if it’s slowly slipping away."

It's good to see that at a time like this people like Andrew Malcom are training their astute political minds and expert analysis on the things that really matter.

I'll be looking forward to reading your excellent article about Obama caught with a booger in his nose the next time he talks about America's special relationship with Israel in southern Florida.

I can only hope your coverage of McCain will be so profound and impactful.

this kind of artificial, but erosive ado about next-to-nothing would indicate the corporate media shifting into next gear in their contracted preinstructed agenda of setting up the constantly shapeshifting, spineless mccain in the white house - for him to hand it over as soon as possible to the 'trojan horse' vp surreptitiously to be installed together with him. this plan will most probably not work out though, as the ability of the media to keep the only consistent, worthy candidate for PRESIDENT, RON PAUL from getting out his constitutional, common sense message has not worked out as planned despite all the concerted media censorship and propaganda efforts. it is becoming increasingly clear to the people that it is not his candidacy that represents a gaffe, but that having set up the other three, vastly un- and overly disqualified candidates in the first place might be seen as the serious breach of sensibility and good taste.
whether the use of a less common variant of 'gaffe,' spelled 'gaff,' represents one, might seem moot; considering the word can also be used to indicate an 'artificial spike or spur fastened to the leg of a gamecock' or, a 'barbed spear or hook with a handle used for landing large fish' or, a 'spar rising aft from a mast to support the head of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail' - this concern might yet make some sense, with a little imagination; but is it really a 'faux pas' or a 'faut-pas,' deliberate or not?

Was there not enough copy for the paper today?

Maybe Obama was thinking about the Organization of the Islamic Conference, an intra-governmental organization of the 57 states that comprise the Muslim world.

Obama is starting to lose his bearings!

This alone should disqualify him to be President.

May be Sen. Obama really needs a Geography lesson
-----------------------------------

Obama conceded that he has a steep challenge to get his message and background to voters in states such as Kentucky -- where he trails Sen. Hillary Clinton by 27 points, according to a poll published earlier this week -- and West Virginia, where voters chose Clinton over Obama by 40 points on Tuesday.

"What it says is that I'm not very well known in that part of the country," Obama said. "Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it's not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/254/story/373 88.html

No wonder much of the public still claims to know little about Obama...the press tells us so little that really matters. Is it laziness or incompetence?

this kind of artificial, but erosive ado about next-to-nothing would indicate the corporate media shifting into next gear in their contracted preinstructed agenda of setting up the constantly shapeshifting, spineless mccain in the white house - for him to hand it over as soon as possible to the 'trojan horse' vp surreptitiously to be installed together with him. this plan will most probably not work out though, as the ability of the media to keep the only consistent, worthy candidate for PRESIDENT, RON PAUL from getting out his constitutional, common sense message has not worked out as planned despite all the concerted media censorship and propaganda efforts. it is becoming increasingly clear to the people that it is not his candidacy that represents a gaffe, but that having set up the other three, vastly un- and overly disqualified candidates in the first place might be seen as the serious breach of sensibility and good taste.
whether the use of a less common variant of 'gaffe,' spelled 'gaff,' represents one, might seem moot; considering the word can also be used to indicate an 'artificial spike or spur fastened to the leg of a gamecock' or, a 'barbed spear or hook with a handle used for landing large fish' or, a 'spar rising aft from a mast to support the head of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail' - this concern might yet make some sense, with a little imagination; but is it really a 'faux pas' or a 'faut-pas,' deliberate or not?

OH Please-57 States-and then doesn't know what city he is in. What are we getting ourselves into another Dummy as President, and oh what excuse will the media make up for him now- I'm sure it will be a good one- like maybe he was out when they taught Geography- DAH!

I feel sorry for pool reporters on days like these, when a city name slip up has to get covered because all the other folks are writing about it. At least y'all did it with some humor, I guess.


Some perspective, though:

Messing up along the lines of "57 states" or "Sioux City"/"Sioux Falls" = embarrassing slips from an understandably fatigued campaigner, but not really any indication of his ability to govern

Messing up along the lines of confusing "Shia" and "Sunni" - and on more than one occasion = a serious problem for a candidate who prides himself on his foreign policy credentials, and a real cause for concern about his ability to govern a country embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

Ok people. I am from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I was at the Obama rally last night. There are a few things I need to clear up here.

First of all I need to correct a part of this story that said, "So was the crowd, which suddenly fell silent.” This is not true. If fact it was so noisy in the Sioux Falls Arena that I didn't even realize he made this mistake until I read the paper.

Second, who cares. We are so used to being confused geographically around here. There are maps put out by professional map companies that call us Sioux City or Sioux Falls, IA. There are books and magazines in the libraries that do the same. Now don't even get me started on the morning news shows or the Weather Channel. They confuse the fact that North Dakota and South Dakota have been two separate states for more than 100 years. We are not "The Dakotas".

Third, give Senator Obama a break. He has been running for President for a very long time. He travels non-stop. This in no way shows he is unfit to be President. In fact it shows he will apologize for his errors and correct them. The current administration can't even do that. (i.e. Iraq, the economy, etc.)

Fourth, those of us who support Obama in South Dakota were so proud to have him in our state yesterday. We are proud of him as a candidate for President. We also hope he comes back very soon.

The positive aspect of these gaffes is that the Obama campaign cannot dwell on McCain's gaffes to paint him as too old.

For example... the McCain mixing up of Iran and Iraq when speaking was offset by Obama making the same mistake when questioning General Petraeus at the last Senate hearing.

And really... the 60 state strategy (57 states visited, one to go, and missed Alaska and Hawaii because his campaign did not think they were "important enough)... a twofer here.

Of course...Obama states that McCain is "losing his bearings" and thus the media will be looking for Obama's own gaffes. Obama set himself up for this. Do not blame the media... blame Obama for trying to be clever with his words and phrasings.... By the way, Obama says "words do matter." (as his "bitter" remark proved).

THANKS ANDREW MALCOLM. Keep us updated. We need to know this information. Obama has been misspeaking since the beginning of his campaign.He does not remember what he said on many days. His supporters/campaigners try to band-aid every misspeak or lack of knowledge he show. Voters should not trust Obama with our country's future. If a future president can't remember little things like, what city or state he's speaking in, or the number of states in his country, don't you realize that's why he pushed the wrong button so many times and refused to vote too many times during senate hearings? I will not vote for Obama and I'm not saying this because I'm a whtie racist as some might think. I'm a black democrat voter who think I live in a great country that has made much progress beyond racism and there are many opportunities for all who are willing , as Hillary Clinton said, to work hard. This has not been an even and fair race. Hillary has been treated unfairly by Obama's campaign and the media. John McCain will be next. The media has helped pick Obama for the democrats but he is the least qualified of the three candidates. I could never feel safe from terrorist with Obama as president.

This shocked me please everyone look it up...i wouldnt have believed it hadn't i read it for myself...remeber Obama seemingly innocent misshap about 57 states here is what he was talking about shocking really...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_of_the_Islamic_Conference (57 islamic states) Please it's not something anyone made up it's fact

this is nonsense.

Is this guy Dan Quail's dumb half brother?

I can see the "Sioux Falls-Sioux City" mix up, but not the 57 states comment. I have been tired. I have been drunk. I have been both drunk and tired, but I have never forgotten how many states are in the Union.

"Obama is starting to lose his bearings!
This alone should disqualify him to be President."

Right, because Obama saying "City" instead of "Falls" is on the same level as the hypocrisy and disingenuity of John McCain that Obama was alluding to.

And then there's *this* lie:

"Obama seemingly innocent misshap about 57 states here is what he was talking about shocking really...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_of_the_Islamic_Conference (57 islamic states) Please it's not something anyone made up it's fact"

Of course it is made up and not a fact. Oh, that there are 57 states in that organization, sure, that's a fact, duh. But is that what Obama meant? Well, how do you know that's a fact? I mean really. I mean, honestly. Oh, wait, there's that word -- a concept that right wingers and now Hillary Clinton supporters apparently are unfamiliar with.

If it had been John Kerry, they would have claimed he was talking about katsup ... in fact, they did. And hey, Cindi, where are those tax returns? And where are the right wingers who demanded that Theresa Heinz release hers, which she did?

"No wonder much of the public still claims to know little about Obama...the press tells us so little that really matters. Is it laziness or incompetence?"

It's largely ideology, the same ideology that results in taking great offense at raising the capital gains tax. How ironic that the very elitist Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and corporate media have tarred the least elitist candidate in ages as "elitist". Joseph Goebbels would approve.

P.S. on the 57 Islamic states ... Obama said that he had one more to go, not including Alaska and Maine. So that makes 60 Islamic states, including those muslim strongholds Alaska and Maine. And it makes those spreading this nonsense the worst sort of scum.

When I visited California and people asked where I was from I told them I was from South Dakota. They then proceeded to say, "And what state is that in."

I am also a Social Studies teacher and am no longer surprised when my students get their geography messed up. They tell me Mexico is a state. They tell me Hawaii isn't. South Dakota is ranked near the top for our quality of education, but the kids still struggle. The reason for this is a wide range of factors that I do not have enough blogging space to get into here. I will tell you that the current policy of "No Child Left Behind" isn't working.

Don't criticize Barack about his mistakes when it comes to geography. Those in glass house should not throw stones.

Obama should have to endure whatever garbage is heaped upon him. No one was ever so quick to defend any verbal gaffes Bush made. No, those were indicative of Bush's stupidity.

And these then are indicative of Obama's stupidity.

57 states, lack of geography knowledge-what a dope!

I guess if you've seen one "bitter, Bible-clinging" town in flyover country, you've seen them all. Right, Obamessiah?

Hey, the Argus Leader referred to Daschle and McGovern as the state's "most prominent Democrats"! If, by "most prominent Democrats", they mean "liberal elites who crapped on their constituents and got tossed out of office on their backsides for it", then yeah..."most prominent"!

Obama is the result of affirmative action.

An they say McCain is OLD. Obama might have a Stamina problem. Where is his health records????? These gaffes happen alot with folks that have a prepared speech. Its no big deal about the City. However, his reference to 57 States is interesting. That may not have been a slip for USA States. When will the MSM vette him?? He has a large family tree, when will we get to see that?? Unless I have already missed it.

Well, too bad no one is as perfect as you, huh? he made a few mistakes, just like everyone does. Get over yourselves.

could someone with a little forsight find out were he's attending befor he speaks.were am i now george,were am i now?look he said 57 states,he was only off by 7.spelling potater wrong is more news worthy.why should the media screw with there little boy from...which state out of 57 did he say he haled from?obama makes a gaffe and the media say's....move along folks nothing here for you to hear about...oh tatters!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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