I really don’t want to write this diary; would much rather just go out and enjoy Maine’s Maple Sunday and give this story a complete pass. With AIG bonuses and the economy, the President has alot on his plate right now.

But same as Michael Savage did last summer, President Obama insulted my daughter and countless others the other day, talking with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show”.

Have a look:

OUCH. Oh man, this HURTS.

The timing is horrendous personally- Thursday was Maine’s statewide Special Olympics Bowling Tournament, held in Augusta.

This was our daughter Jean’s 3rd year participating with her friends and they all had a great time. They had been practicing at the bowling alley for weeks and did wonderfully; one little girl got 2 strikes in the same frame!

So to read about this story later that evening, after a wonderful day we all look forward to all year long, was a kick in the gut for me.

More below…  Here’s the transcript of Jay and the President’s conversation:

LENO: Now, are they going to put a basketball – I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.

OBAMA: No, no. I have been practicing all –

LENO: Really? Really?

OBAMA: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)

LENO: No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.

OBAMA: It’s like – it was like Special Olympics, or something.

LENO: No, that’s very good.

OBAMA: No, listen, I’m making progress on the bowling, yes.

Okay, so I get it. Towards the end of the interview, past the heavy stuff, winding down. I wouldn’t expect Leno to catch the insult and call Obama on it (although that would have been nice)- it was an off-the-cuff comment/joke on himself by the President.

But as my friend Autumn Sandeen has correctly said time and again, Language Matters.

Some sharp cookie in his circle noticed this gaffe, before it went on air later Thursday night. And rather than prepare a “Sorry of YOU were offended!” sort of apology (which we all recognize a mile away after years of them), Obama did something that was very right-headed.

He apologized. For real.

Appearing on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” Thursday, the president told host Jay Leno he’d been practicing at the White House’s bowling alley but wasn’t happy with his score of 129. Then he remarked: “It was like the Special Olympics or something.”

The audience laughed, but the White House quickly recognized the blunder. The Special Olympics, founded in 1968, is a global nonprofit organization serving 200 million individuals with intellectual disabilities.

On his way back to Washington on Air Force One, Obama called the chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, to say he was sorry – even before the taped program aired late Thursday night.

He expressed his disappointment and he apologized in a way that was very moving. He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population,” Shriver said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Obama, Shriver said, wants to have some Special Olympic athletes visit the White House to bowl or play basketball.

Still, Shriver said, “I think it’s important to see that words hurt and words do matter. And these words that in some respect can be seen as humiliating or a put down to people with special needs do cause pain and they do result in stereotypes.”

His sister, California first lady Maria Shriver also responded to the gaffe, saying in statement, “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.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters traveling with Obama that the president’s offhand remark was not meant to disparage the Special Olympics, only to poke some fun at the commander in chief’s bowling skills.

“He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world,” Burton said.

Accidentally, the President’s remarks will have some benefit, as March 31 is scheduled to be a Day of Awareness.

(CNN) — An unexpected and sudden spotlight on the Special Olympics, an organization that for more than 40 years has served and honored those with intellectual disabilities, comes less than two weeks before the nonprofit launches a new campaign: Spread the Word to the End the Word.

Special Olympics is running a campaign to stop the use of the “R-word.”

March 31 is being billed a “national day of awareness,” a call to Americans to recognize and rethink their use of the word “retard,” or as the organization would prefer, the “R-word.”

“Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends,” a statement about the campaign reads. “This word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.”

The push for increased respect is being spearheaded by young people who are collecting pledges or vows to not use the word at http://www.r-word.org/, and are leading online discussions on how people can get involved in this cause.

So far, across the country, 300 schools have already committed to hosting rallies on March 31, Special Olympics President and CEO J. Brady Lum said.

The ads designed by BBDO New York, will challenge the public — with language meant to raise eyebrows — to think about the issue more deeply. The campaign uses slurs against Asians, homosexuals, Jews and African-Americans to make the point that language can be harmful to all groups, including people with intellectual disabilities.

Apology accepted. By this SO mom, anyways. How would you feel, sir, were I to insult YOUR daughters? Please be more aware…


(I am also hoping that this ability of the President to realize his errors and take the correct steps to amend will play out in other ways later on. cough! Rick Warren! CWA! FRC! Others! cough!)

You’ve got alot of others to apologize to as well, Mr. President… please start learning WHY and make it so.




Leave a reply