Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Gaffes

New gaffe: Obama confuses Jews with janitors

President Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet over the weekend.

Those folks will stick with him in 2012, of course.

But they've been somewhat miffed in recent months that the first post-partisan president is doing too many deals with those Republicans and seeming to give in.

So, Obama needed to give the crowd some presidential love. He even brought his wife along. As with virtually all of Obama's speeches recently, the Democrat's remarks dealt with selling his jobs legislation, as if it wasn't DOA on Capitol Hill.Obama speaks to the congressional black caucus awards banquet 9-24-11

The first black president got to reminiscing about some other struggles in the past familiar to African Americans.

His 28 minutes of remarks had a strange tone to them, as if somehow Obama was equating support for his jobs program legislation with the far more important and historic civil rights movement.

He got into the usual yada-yada about rich people paying their fair share of taxes.

And then, deep into the speech, according to the White House transcript, the president said:

When you start saying, at a time when the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen their incomes go up four or five times over the last 20 years, and folks at the bottom have seen their incomes decline -- and your response is that you want poor folks to pay more? 

Give me a break. 

If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.

That's what the transcript says he said.

Now, watch the C-SPAN video below, and listen especially to the phrase "the same tax rate as a janitor..."

Here is what the president actually said, catching himself almost in time but not quite:

If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew, uh, as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.

The president has been muffing lines all over the place recently. Last week, also peddling his jobs plan at a bridge that won't qualify, he hailed America's building of "the Intercontinental Railroad." You don't seem to hear much about these gaffes in the media for some reason.

Maybe in Saturday night's speech Obama was thinking about all those talks on Israel in New York.

Video of the president's full CBC speech, via C-SPAN, of course, is available right here.

Obama is on the West Coast now, harvesting money again and closing roads in Los Angeles after doing the same in Seattle and San Jose Sunday.


How many Obama gaffes can the media ignore?

Obama touts jobs plan at Ohio bridge that won't qualify

Obama's jobs speech: Right now actually means much later

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here.

Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (Obama addresses the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet, Sept. 24).              Video: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

New gaffe: Obama hails America's historic building of 'the Intercontinental Railroad'

Barack Obama's political rally by the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio 9-22-11


"We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad," Barack Obama.

That's what the president of the United States flat-out said Thursday during what was supposed to be a photo op to sell his jobs plan next to an allegedly deteriorating highway bridge.

A railroad between continents? A railroad from, say, New York City all the way across the Atlantic to France? Now, THAT would be a bridge!

It's yet another humorous gaffe by the Harvard graduate, overlooked by most media for whatever reason. Like Obama saying Abraham-Come-Lately Lincoln was the founder of the Republican Party. Or Navy corpseman. Or the Austrian language. Fifty-seven states. The president of Canada. Etc.

If you talk as much as this guy likes to talk instead of governing, if you believe you are a Real Good Talker as much as this guy does, you're gonna blow a few lines. But this many?

No doubt, we'll see a collection of Obama's Best Bombs on 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend, one right after the other. No doubt. Can you imagine the media coverage of such repeated historical ignorance if it had been the last Ivy League alum president who said it?

The Democrat had traveled to Ohio on Thursday to tout his American Jobs Act, the....

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Ticket pic of the week: No, that's a little too far, back up a few feet

Garbage Truck parking problem in new york citry

New York City firefighters got a multi-ton surprise when called to the scene of this recent accident.

If you look through the windshield, you can just make out the garbage truck driver screaming, "OMG, I'm going to die! I'm going to die!"

He didn't.

The intrepid city crews got him out safely with a ladder, a very long ladder.


Juno starts its long journey to Jupiter

You know, that statue hasn't moved the entire time I've been watching

Now, where did all those cattle go? They were right here just a minute ago

-- Andrew Malcolm

Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Fire Department of New York

ESPN warns analyst Paul Azinger over mocking tweet on nation's golfer-in-chief

Those piercing professional eyes of one of our faves, Dana Loesch, have spotted another disparity in media treatment of commentary on the nation's vacationer-in-chief and Republicans.Dana Loesch of bigjournalismdotcom

ESPN golf analyst and 12-time PGA Tour winner Paul Azinger put out a funny and biting tweet during this week of President Obama's famous vacation on Martha's Vineyard:

"Facts: POTUS has played more golf this month than I have; I have created more jobs this month than he has."

Friday, as Dana reports, ESPN "reminded" Azinger that his tweet was inconsistent with the social media policy of the company (corporate parent: Disney).

And that "political commentary is best left to those in that field."


Then Dana astutely wonders aloud what kind of warning verbal outlaw Kenny Mayne got for his twittered desire in June to wreak mechanical mayhem on a passing car, ramming it simply because it carried a Sarah Palin sticker. Presumably Mayne pulled over before tapping out his tweet.

Dana has tweet pix right here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: BigJournalismdotcom

Obama safe on the golf course during earthquake, but gets briefed later anyway

Obama Golf Quake Putt 8-23-11

Poor President Obama can't catch a break.

He goes on this expensive island vacation without releasing an overdue jobs program and people complain he's had 930+ days, where's he been?

On Monday he gets some family time and this Libya conflict he started hits a turning point. So he has to go on TV and talk democracy for eight minutes. Mission Accomplished, almost

Today the Democrat did the family thing on the beach and bikes all morning.

The afternoon was scheduled guy time on the golf course, which wasn't going too well in the putting department, according to eyewitnesses. And then there's this magnitude 5.8 earthquake up and down the East Coast.

First of all, POTUS is safe. No panic. He was outdoors. He didn't even feel it, clueless. Fortunately, he has a lot of non-vacationing aides around. And they could tell him about the public shock of millions across the region and the Pentagon and monument evacuations and no initial reports of anything wrong.

He could also learn a little about approaching Hurricane Irene, which threatens to screw up his vacation weekend plans, among other things.

Aides set up an emergency conference call for the president in an undisclosed area near the golf course to be told again that everything is OK. Here's the White House report on that crowded call:

At 2:50 p.m. EDT this afternoon, the president led a conference call with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards with the Department of Interior Dr. David Applegate, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Greg Jaczko, Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Heidi Avery and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough to discuss the earthquake and status of critical infrastructure. 

The president was told that there are no initial reports of major infrastructure damage, including at airports and nuclear facilities and that there were currently no requests for assistance. The president asked for regular updates on the situation. The president also was provided an update on preparations for Hurricane Irene by Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate.

Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, was over in Japan expressing sympathy for their quake-tsunami disaster last spring. So he can't be blamed for the day's discouraging new poll numbers.

Also, the president ordered that people keep bringing him any new information.


New debt data: It's growing $3 million a minute, even on vacation

31 months in, Obama says he expects to have his jobs plan in a month or so

Obama bus tour meme: Washington (not him) screwed up and we should spend more

-- Andrew Malcolm

Keep track of this administration's spending; follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters (Obama missing putts on vacation, Aug. 23).

Joe Biden update: His GOP 'terrorists' quote reaffirmed

an iowa protester in peosta carries a sign referring to joe biden calling tea party members terrorists aug 2011

So, did Vice President Joe Biden really liken Republican House "tea party" members to terrorists during the debt deal roughhousing, just as President Obama was publicly professing a desire for political civility?

In a way, it doesn't matter anymore, because the belief that he did has hardened like cement (see the photo above, the protester on the right, all the way out in Iowa).

In an unusual move within the fraternities of Washington journalism, Politico, which broke the original hot story, issued a reaffirmation of the piece Wednesday, apparently in response to another Washington news organization questioning Politico's sources as "dubious."

To refresh your memory, hours after Biden met behind closed doors with unhappy....

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Vice president's reference to opponents as 'terrorists' deserves condemnation

joe Biden and dick Cheney, file

Outrage flooding in now even from overseas over former Vice President Dick Cheney likening some opponents of President Bush's policies and administration to "terrorists."

Terrorists? Really? With the 10th anniversary of real terrorism coming next month. Pathetic, even for Repugnicans.

It's the kind of over-the-top rhetorical retribution that only inflames political passions and hard feelings at a highly partisan time in the nation's capitol. You have to expect it from the veteran Washington insider and no-holds-barred Republican enforcer who once worked for an oil industry company.

During a meeting with his party's House caucus earlier this week several members reportedly expressed outrage over parts of the pending debt agreement with opponents, likening the other side to terrorists holding the plan hostage to gain an advantage.

At one point the vice president is said to have acknowledged, "They have acted like terrorists."  Seriously, that guy's been out of office for -- what? -- 30 months now. His party lost. Let it go, Mr. Cheney!

The Democratic team of Barack Obama and Joe Biden arrived in Washington in 2009 sincerely determined to change the city's crony culture, to overcome the harsh partisan tone that had infested the former swamp during the first eight years of this century. How can such gentlemen possibly make progress for America when the response from the GOP side invokes terrorism during what should be a simple policy debate?

Oh, wait. What? Oh, that's right. It was Vice President Joe Biden who said that. And it happened during a caucus of his party's angry Democratic House members, not Republicans.

Well, nevermind then.

Forget we brought it up. No condemnation needed. Biden's not the kind of partisan guy to shoot from the lip. He obviously didn't mean it. Or he was misunderstood. Or caught up in the moment. Could happen to anybody who isn't Republican. If, in fact, Biden even uttered it. Lighten up!

-- Andrew Malcolm

Stand up for peace and the American way. Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Emily Riley / Reuters (Cheney and Biden, file).

Mark Halperin suspended by MSNBC for off-color, on-air characterization of Obama

Mark Halperin suspended by MSNBC for giving his opinion on Obama

Mark Halperin is an editor at Time magazine and a political analyst at MSNBC. While on the news network's "Morning Joe" program Thursday morning, he was asked to analyze President Obama's news conference Wednesday where the leader of the free world suggested that Congress' work habits were lacking when compared to his two young daughters'.

“Are we on the seven-second delay today?” Halperin asked "Morning Joe" co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a hint that what he wanted to say would in some way be spicy language that the Federal Communications Commission might possibly fine the network over. “I wanted to characterize how I thought the president behaved,” Halperin added.

“We have it we can use it,” Brzezinski said, encouraging the analyst to express himself frankly. “Go for it.”

“Take a chance,” Scarborough goaded.

“I thought he was kind of a ... yesterday,” Halperin said, using a crude anatomical reference.

“Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing?” Scarborough said excitedly. “I can’t believe you! I was joking. Don’t do that! Did we delay that?”

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Michele Bachmann's campaign rollout: Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina and 5 morning shows


Judging from her sudden surge in the polls, Michele Bachmann's campaign lead-up and roll-out are going extremely well.

While the media focused on a couple of miscues, as it does with female candidates, especially conservative ones, the crowds, set-ups and pushing for interviews with the freshest Republican face around have been strong.

Yes, she should have displayed her website on the announcement podium and John Wayne was born in Iowa, just not in Bachmann's hometown of Waterloo. But on her first full day of campaigning Tuesday Bachmann ran the media gauntlet by appearing on five major national morning news shows without leaving a room in New Hampshire.

Such serial satellite interviews can be grueling affairs with often awkward transmission delays and no one for the candidate to relate to. She's staring straight into a pool camera and imagining millions of Americans preparing for their daily lives at work, camps, schools across the country, and trying to project her personality and message.

All this, without sweating too much, sneezing, suffering a wardrobe malfunction or revealing her....

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John Wayne to John Adams: Michele Bachmann stands by her (mis)statements

Michele Bachmann stands by her misstatements

John Wayne, John Wayne Gacy, John Adams, John Quincy Adams. The details don't seem to matter too much to Michele Bachmann, who appears to be taking a page out of Sarah Palin's playbook: when in doubt, don't retreat, reload.

When confronted Tuesday morning on two nationally broadcast interviews that focused on some of the inaccurate statements that she's uttered over the years, the conservative congresswoman smiled, looked directly into the camera and defended her words.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos spoke with Bachmann on "Good Morning America" and told her that the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact website ranked her last among leading presidential candidates in regards to what Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness."

"Earlier this year you said that the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence worked tirelessly to end slavery. Now with respect Congresswoman, that’s just not true. Many of them including Jefferson and Washington were actually slaveholders and slavery didn’t end until the Civil War," Stephanopoulos said.

But after reminding the host and the television audience that "we no longer have slavery" and  "that’s a good thing," Bachmann explained that John Quincy Adams, as a young boy, "tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery...."

Stephanopoulos cut the lawmaker off to correct her and give her a chance to back away from her misstatement.

"He wasn’t one of the Founding Fathers," Stephanopoulos said. "He was a president, he was a secretary of State, he was a member of Congress, you’re right he did work to end slavery decades later. But so you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?"

And just like Palin's interesting take on Paul Revere, Bachmann stubbornly stuck to her guns.

"Well, John Quincy Adams most certainly was a part of the Revolutionary War era. He was a young boy but he was actively involved," Bachmann said.

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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
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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