Did President Obama reference oral sex with his wife in a speech to gay activists yesterday? No, he didn't -- but that didn't stop some news sites from interpreting the comments he made to supporters as such.
Last night, President Obama met with supporters at an LGBT Leadership Council event to lay out his record on gay rights. He thanked Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted the fundraiser, and jokingly chided her on her pushup form. The First Lady went on the comedian's show in February to stump for her fitness initiative, and was challenged to a pushup contest.
The White House pool reporter detailed the president's comments thusly:
He warmed up with some jokes about the first lady’s appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. “Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well,” he said, after saying that she’s taken some criticism on her technique “because she doesn’t go all the way down” -– a line that he let hang, naughtily, provoking laughter from the crowd.
But Business Insider mused that the "doesn't go all the way down" line was a reference to oral sex.
"Emboldened by an enthusiastic reception from Hollywood's gay elite, President Barack Obama made what appeared to be an off-color joke about his wife and Ellen DeGeneres during a fundraiser last night," Grace Wyler wrote.
The White House's official transcript, however, made the president's actual remarks seem pretty innocuous.
I want to thank my wonderful friend who accepts a little bit of teasing about Michelle beating her in pushups -- (laughter) -- but I think she claims Michelle didn’t go all the way down. (Laughter.) That’s what I heard. I just want to set the record straight -- Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well. (Laughter.) So she shouldn’t feel bad. She’s an extraordinary talent and she’s just a dear, dear friend -- Ellen DeGeneres. Give Ellen a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Indeed, the president seemed surprised at the crowd's response to his comments in the video above.
The faux-controversy made Alex Pareene, Salon's political blogger, very annoyed. "It’s stupid, and most of the people with jobs as political reporters are at least literate, and understand that this thing did not happen," he wrote. "So don’t repeat it, or even write that "some say" they thought it maybe happened."
"Obviously cable news pundits are exempt from this 'they should know better' standard because the vast majority of them are genuine idiots," Pareene added.