In an otherwise agreeable appearance on the Tonight Show, the president compared his bowling to "like Special Olympics, or something." This is why presidents avoid late-night TV.

A movie star can get away with a quote like that; worst-case scenario, the publicist issues a clarification the next day.

Barack Obama, though, is going to have to contend with furious advocates for the mentally disabled. That's why his press team was backing off the comments before Jay Leno's show was over. (A clip of the comment is above. Notice Leno stammering as he processes what just happened.)


This is just like that time Obama made a comment about Nancy Reagan convening seances at a news conference right after he was elected. Isn't Joe Biden supposed to be the gaffey one?

MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann and Late Late Show host Colin Ferguson were wringing their hands over the Special Olympics comment earlier tonight (see video above).


Gotcha variety-show-watching aside, most Americans have bigger things to worry about than whether the president inadvertently offended the athletic prowess of the mentally disabled. But then they probably also have bigger things to worry about than the other topics covered by Leno and Obama: puppies, bowling or flying on Air Force One (see NBC highlights reel below). So net-net it's hard to see much upside in this Tonight Show appearance for Obama.

It's like the president recruited his image handlers from the Special Ol... well, like they're differently abled, adept at Beltway positioning, unprepared for Hollywood sound stages.

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