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A 'shocked' Sarah Palin joins critics of Obama's Special Olympics comment

Republican Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with her Downs baby Trig

Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, herself the mother of a "special needs" child, Trig, who has Down's syndrome, expressed shock today over President Obama's quip on the Jay Leno show Thursday about his bowling being like Special Olympics.

The president has apologized to the head of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, and the president's press secretary Robert Gibbs today called it a "thoughtless joke." Earlier this afternoon California's First Lady Maria Shriver admonished the president for his comment likening his poor bowling to a Special Olympics.

The Ticket main reports on that are here and over here.

This afternoon, Palin's office released a statement quoting her as being "shocked," that the comment was "degrading", that these special needs athletes "overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will" and adding she hopes Obama's comment does not reflect his true feelings.

Here's Palin's entire statement:

“I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics. This was a degrading remark about our world’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world.

“These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will. By the way, these athletes can outperform many of us and we should be proud of them. I hope President Obama’s comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community.”

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Getty Images (Gov. Palin with her Downs baby Trig).

Comments () | Archives (16)

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of course these remarks reflect his true feelings! He did not have his trusty his TRUE feelings, that he is a SELFISH JERK who doesn't think about other people, came roaring to the front. Obama is the template for "It's all about me."

Sarah Who?

I'm not surprised, it's just the sort of thing that his little groper Favreau would write for him.

Palin. Why is it you still makes me sick? Ah. I believe it is your "Holier-Than-Thou" mentality. Jump right in there, Baracuda! Tear Obama up for a slip of the tongue. But oh yes, hope the world doesn't remember that YOU endangered your child by insisting (you stated your waterhad broken) to: 1) Stay for a speech in Houston, Texas 2) Fly to Seattle 3) Change planes (or was it a layover?) 4) By-pass the modern Providence Hospital in Anchorage Alaska and head to the "boonies" (Palmer "Hospital") --- OH But lets FORGET all YOUR "miss steps".

WHAT A HYPOCRITE. AH. That is the word I am searching for: HYPOCRITE

i find sarah dragging trig around for her sympathy vote in poor taste i also find it offensive that it was on the news 2 or 3 hours before it was broadcast time to nbc to take it out leno you missed the boat there

if old Sarah is so concerned how come she turned down funding to help special needs children in Alaska... now if you ask me THAT's shocking... she should go away

Get over it people! Obama did not mean to demean anyone. He was joking and kidding with Jay, and that's what just came out. It was a slip of the tongue. I am the parent of a Down Syndrome child, and was not offended. Honestly, most handicapped kids don't bowl particularly well; but they try and they have fun! Same as typical kids!!! Get a life abd get over it! The guy is trying, and we need to support him!! And no, I didn't vote for him; but I didn't vote for McCain & Palin either!!!

Give me a break. Our President is human and in being so he will or could make remarks that may not be humorous to everyone. But lets pull ourselves together and look for something worthy of talking about. Grow up.

Give me a break. This is the same nut job that is trying to turn down $790,000,000 from the stimulus package for schools and education. This is obvisously a political statement from someone who should just go away regarding and unfortuneate comment by the President of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

No matter what you might think of Palin, Obama's comment on Leno was indefensible. Even in the context of a self-deprecating remark, comparing oneself to a Special Olympics competitor in order to illustrate one's awkwardness and incompetence is inherently a put-down of Special Olympics competitors and mentally challenged.

The worst part is that there apparently is no small voice in Obama's head saying, "Wait, whoa, whoa, don't say that! Especially since you are now POTUS!" I think that small voice has been effectively stifled by arrogance. It is one thing to make this sort of slip in a context where one finds oneself apologizing to the rather congenial and forgiving chairman of the Special Olympics. It will be quite another when a slip-up is made in the company of a foreign leader who will not accept such an apology.

And there is quite a difference between Obama's making fun of the Special Olympics and Palin's unconditional love for her special needs child. No comparison there.

oh how self righteous!! the same person who didn't even tell her own children about trig's down syndrome cuz "she didn't know in her own heart if she was going to be able to love (her own child) with special needs" that's far worse than any snide remark.

Yes, turning down $170 million in special education money sure gives ya' "street cred".

Speaking of "degrading" your photo is titled "Gov. Palin with her Downs baby Trig".

Does she introduce him as "my Downs baby"? Does she ask "Do you have a high-chair for my Downs baby" at a restaurant?

How about "Gov. Palin with her baby Trig who has Downs Syndrome"?

I am embarrassed and ashamed, again.

Obama Obama Obama. He wasn't good to start with, and it just so seems he is making things sooo much worse. First, he plans to spend all of the money in the U.S on whatever he wants, and now, he wants to make fun of the ones that aren't physically and completly able to do whatever they want? He needs to get a life, and start acting like a freaking man. Give me a break. He is making this economy, and country so much more in debt, and he is hopeless. Anybody with a brain could tell you that. (Hints the reason he IS the president). The people with no brain voted for him.

This from the woman who told us Obama was "pallin' around with terrorists"? This from the woman who believed Alaska's proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience? This from the woman who lied about telling Congress "thanks but no thanks" regarding her Bridge-to-Nowhere? This from the woman who suggested criticism of her is unconstitutional? This from the woman who believes the role of the Vice President is "[T]hey're in charge of the U.S. Senate"? This from the woman who believes some parts of this country are "patriotic" "real America" while others are not?

I am the mom of a beautiful little boy with Down syndrome. I did not take offense at Obama's comment; I do hope that it brings attention to the fact that all of us, even parents of our sweet special needs kids, need to be more aware of the words that come out of our mouths and how they may impact others. Ask the "shocked" Sarah if she ever said "that's retarded" before she had Trig. I know I did. And I'll tell you that among parents of kids with DS, that one stings a lot more than Obama's does. I bet it still slips out of her kids' mouths. While I would never use that expression now, I also know it's just an expression that is not meant to be hurtful. Also, is it just a coincidence that pictures of Sarah with Trig were generally non-existent publicly prior to Obama's comment, and now I can't turn a page without seeing them together? Can we say photo-op 2012? Now, to that I take offense.

He was only making fun of himself he did not mean to
offend anyone. Stop looking for excuses to attack him
and try to support him now that he is President of the United States of America. Please do not act like a sore loser.


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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.
President Obama
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