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So what's up with Obama's talk about Washington being 'wee-weed up'?

President George W. Bush was famous for mangling the language. (Exhibit A: “Childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.”)

President Obama is a surer commander in chief of nouns and verbs, but along with a general level of eloquence displays a startlingly slangy vocabulary. The_last_word_on_words

In remarks at a healthcare forum Thursday, the president talked about how public opinion goes up and down and how, a year ago, some critics declared that Obama “lost his mojo” after Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain tapped Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Obama tried — apparently — to tell his audience not to take such predictions of setbacks too seriously.

According to the White House transcript, he said:

There’s something about August going into September -- [laughter] -- where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up. [Laughter.] I don’t know what it is. [Laughter.] But that’s what happens.”

Wee-weed?

We learned of this arresting locution from our colleague Mark Silva at the political blog The Swamp. (Click here to read his report.)

Wee-weed brings to mind ...

... Obama's first presidential news conference, in February, when he defended his stimulus package as the best way to jumpstart the economy: “Look, I would love not to have to spend money right now. This notion that somehow I came in here just ginned up to spend $800 billion, that wasn’t -- that wasn’t how I envisioned my presidency beginning.”

It’s not every day your hear a president say “ginned.” And he did it again in July:

“So to all -- everybody who’s out there who has been ginned about this idea that the Obama administration wants to spend and spend and spend, the fact of the matter is, is that we inherited an enormous deficit, enormous long-term debt projections. We have not reduced it as much as we need to and as I’d like to.”

Whether “wee-weed” will make a return appearance remains, as they say, to be seen. And as long as we’re on the topic of words, it’s worth mentioning a recent publication from UCLA’s linguistics department, "UCLA Slang." We learned of the book through the Times’ immensely readable books blog, Jacket Copy.

With the president’s polling numbers taking a hit recently, he might be delighted to learn that, along with the slang terms "presh" (for precious) and "schwa" (for wow), there’s a new synonym for “cool.”

The word? “Obama.”

-- Steve Padilla

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Photo: Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (20)

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No surprise that Obama's faux paus are not being picked up by the media. Maybe its the new ebonics called Obonics!

To be clear if Bush or any other republican for that matter made these mistakes it would have been headline news are the the very least on the lips of every comedian.

Obonics, I sort of like that!!!

Aside from all the political stuff, ya gotta love the man. If nothing else, he CAN be real. I found both Bush, Jr. and Clinton could be real, too. Reagan, Bush Sr, Ford, Carter: all just cardboard cutouts in my memory.

It doesn't matter what Obama says, it only matters what he does!
If he still intends to push his declared personal objective of destroying our health care system, and replace it with his obscenely expensive Federal System Health Care, that is another matter. I will fight him because that is a very wrong way to go!
I think it is elitist ignorant government "doublespeak" garbage! Obama and his people are destroying us with that, and pushing us closer to a real bone-chiller of an economic disaster!
Obama does not know what he is doing. I do not trust the man based on his performance in government service alone over several years. Nothing has changed! Pray to God "Obamacare" as set forth today never becomes a reality!
Americans do not need to go through such a "nightmare."

we cannot have enough of Pres Obama. He is so new and special that we should give him 12 years. Fix the problems in Four, Put on the world in Eight and at Twelve we have a new reformation, renaissance and green industrial revolution. This is what save America and the World from disaster.

What, no Pulitzer for this?

Other than yet another tired Bush rant, what is the point of this?

Obama is cool?

Time to get a real job.

Obama as a slang term for cool? Right.
And Hitler is a slang term for groovy. Sure.

Nice try, LA turd.

There is nothing cool about the word "obama" and thats coming from a college student.

but there is a new synonym for "worthless",

its "illegal aliens"

Seriously? Those people are seriously trying to pass "Obama" off as a slang word for "cool" (itself slang)? So what's the new, Obama word for "lame" and "out of touch"?

And don't get me started on the "wee weed" thing or the second usage of "ginned," which was wrong. That's just too Obama for words. ("Ginned up" isn't new slang; that phrase has been around since the 1920s, at least. Probably older.)

should you get a life? Methinks so .... ;)

Don't all huffy, and do not let your knicker get all twisted of me, now, bro' ....

I swear to God people - Chicagoans DO NOT talk like this. And neither, by the way, should the President of the United States of America. WHO ON GOD'S EARTH did you people elect to run our country???

Maybe because we were right about this man being a low life drug user in the first place? He has no business being president.

This expression comes from his massive use of drugs for years...

I can't believe I just read that whole article. Where do I go to get my two minutes back?

“So to all -- everybody who’s out there who has been ginned about this idea that the Obama administration wants to spend and spend and spend, the fact of the matter is, is that we inherited an enormous deficit, enormous long-term debt projections. We have not reduced it as much as we need to and as I’d like to.”
---------------------------------------
He couldn't reduce deficit, so he decided to quadruple it. Genius...

It's wonderful to have a President who is not only intelligent, honest, with integrity and courage but one who speaks in refreshing, vivid American English.

Most politicians either don't know what they're talking about or don't want us to know. The occasional use of common language helps cut through all that.

so if bush ran off and jumped off a cliff obama would follow , no he would clime a mountain 3 times taller and jump.

"...we inherited an enormous deficit, enormous long-term debt projections. We have not reduced it as much as we need to and as I’d like to.”

REDUCED IT AS MUCH AS WE NEED?

He hasn't reduced it at all, but, rather, has increased it by astronomical amounts. Our great-great grandchildren will still be suffering from the spending excesses of Pres. Obama's idea of a budget.

Face it folks. We're screwed. We did it to ourselves in the last election. If this clown and his buddies, Immelt, Soros and the rest of them have their way it will be our last election. Get used to it.

It sounds like he was avoiding use of the word "cowardly". At least he knows how to put a sentence together and pronounce "nuclear" correctly.

DOES OBAMA MEAN THEY ALL GET HIGH ON WEED?

he is a father, after all. sounds like something he would say to one of the girls when she was pouting: don't get all wee-weed, from all the little piggies went 'wee wee wee all the way home'. a reference to our spoiled representatives.


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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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