Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Now, Maria Shriver chastises Obama for Special Olympics 'joke'

March 20, 2009 |  2:19 pm

California’s First Lady Maria Shriver, a fellow Democrat who endorsed President Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the party's primaries last year, gave him a wrist-slap this morning after the new president made fun of Special Olympics, the nonprofit group for mentally disabled athleteCalifornia First Lady Maria Shrivers founded by her mother, on national TV last night.

As The Ticket reported early this morning, Obama, who was on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," said he’d improved at bowling lately, scoring 129. “It was like Special Olympics or something,” the president said, with a huge grin.

In a statement this morning, Shriver said, “While I am confident that President Obama never intended to offend anyone, the response that his comments have caused, coupled with the reaction of a primetime audience, demonstrate the need to continue to educate the non-disabled community on the issues that confront those with a developmental disability."

As The Ticket often does, we're publishing the full text of Shriver's statement on the jump below.

“Often times we don’t realize that when we laugh at comments like this it hurts millions of people throughout the world,” added Shriver.

(UPDATE: The president has apologized by phone to the Special Olympics privately and this afternoon Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called his boss' remark a "thoughtless joke.")

-- Michael Rothfeld

But it's no gaffe at all to register here for automatic alerts via Twitter on each new Ticket item.

This is a slightly-amended crosspost from LANow.

Photo: Associated Press

First Lady Maria Shriver today issued the following statement on President Obama's comments regarding Special Olympics:

"While I am confident that President Obama never intended to offend anyone, the response that his comments have caused, coupled with the reaction of a primetime audience, demonstrate the need to continue to educate the non-disabled community on the issues that confront those with a developmental disability. My mother has dedicated her life to fighting stereotypes and ridicule for this community, and there is still much work to be done. 

"The President's apology for his comments and his commitment to bringing the Special Olympics to the White House are important first steps in shedding light on this important issue. Often times we don't realize that when we laugh at comments like this it hurts millions of people throughout the world. People with special needs are great athletes and productive citizens, and I look forward to working with the President to knock down myths and stereotypes about this community."   ###

Comments 

Advertisement










Video