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07:43 PM on 03/20/2009
I'm sure this was a light-hearted comment. Like other posters here, I have kids with special needs, and I don't take it particularly amiss.

But I do frequently notice how acceptable it is to make fun of people by likening them to those with special needs. I think people don't even notice they're doing it. How often have you read a post here, or listened to Jon Stewart (whom I love), and heard them deride someone who does something dumb as "riding the short bus?" Online I once saw a woman who writes in support of people with autism make fun of someone by suggesting he was at a Star Trek convention, a pastime that I'm pretty sure is attractive to, you guessed it, people with autism.

It's still acceptable for progressive commentators, who would never use a racial or gender term as an insult, to use the language of intellectual disability an a put-down without thinking about it. I'm not getting all up-in-arms about it, but I do wish people would consider their words.
12:10 AM on 03/21/2009
See, that's what I think. I don't like short bus or helmet jokes. But I think they are all too common. And it's not about being PC, it's about being thoughtful of others. I heard the President's joke differently than him making fun of people in the SO, but the fact that we are so used to jokes at their expense, I wish he hadn't said it. I appreciate that he apologized and that's all he can do. What I think is that people who use those jokes to be mean won't learn anything from this anyway....

Jennifer
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unclesmedley
07:25 PM on 03/20/2009
I have a special needs kid and I thought it was a dumb thing to say, but it was clearly not malicious and he did the right thing after the fact. Furthermore, as a parent of a special needs kid, I recognize not only the role of and the need for humor--but the ubiquitous presence of humor in the lives of these kids. They can be very funny people, advertently and inadvertently. It's no sin to laugh and it's healthy to make light. So, everybody needs to take a deep breath and let this go.
07:06 PM on 03/20/2009
I was deeply offended by President Obama's insensitive remark. However, we must remember that everyone makes mistakes and we should not dwell on his remark. We must keep moving forward together.
06:35 PM on 03/20/2009
I am a Democrat but am getting very disappointed in the President. He must
grow up and act like a President not a college kid. He just does not
take anything serious. I was more upset how he talked about the Secret Service.
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rflctammt
War doesn't prove who is right, only who is left.
06:41 PM on 03/20/2009
Are you talking about this president or the previous one?

How often do you listen to him?

Did you like ANYTHING he said?
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postman606
06:49 PM on 03/20/2009
What the President said about The Secret Service has been a common theme for new Presidents.
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rflctammt
War doesn't prove who is right, only who is left.
06:26 PM on 03/20/2009
My beloved nephew has Down Syndrome and participates in the Special Olympics - it is one of the highlights of his life.

I saw the president on the Tonight Show and heard his comment. There was nothing mean-spirited about it. If we're going to read stuff into what he said, how about this:

President Obama humbly and humorously admitted an area of "weakness" in himself. He was not offended, indignant or emarrassed at having his less-than-glowing bowling abilities pointed out and had a little fun at his own expense. If anything, the president showed the essence of good-sportsmanship. He said nothing negative what-so-ever about the Special Olympics, only related himself to their cause.

Having fun and learning good sportsmanship are the cornerstones of the Special Olympics. The fact that the president made a statement apologizing for any misunderstanding simply shows his awareness of politically-sensitive issues, and recognizes the fine work of the SO.

Yeah, we can look at a glass as half-empty or half-full.
My glass is more than half-full and I support my nephew, my president, the Special Olympics and my country.

What is the purpose of constantly looking for and focusing on fault?
06:43 PM on 03/20/2009
Thanks for this! Wonderful way to look at it. And I agree, Mr. Obama didn't mean anything negative by the comment. Yes, he shouldn't have said it, but we should all remember that Mr. Obama's pedestal is really high and it is a long way to fall. He is human after all. I would hate it if someone was recording my every word.

You know what is refreshing and unlike most spokespeople who are out there...Mr. Obama is pro-active. HE made the call immediately after he got on the plane. Just like his comment on Nancy Reagan...HE made the call immediately and apologized. He doesn't wait to make excuses, he knows he was wrong and he takes care of it.

All of you out there who are so offended by this comment and comparing it to his "real character" need to take a long look in the mirror. Because if we all judge your entire character by the vile things you write, you would be shocked to know what we are all thinking about you!
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TjayeInLA
07:11 PM on 03/20/2009
Very nice post.
06:23 PM on 03/20/2009
I'm pretty sure this comment does reflect his heart. After all he is a complete eugenicist in his intensity towards such and agenda -- he'd obviously have fewer of 'those people' around.

Certainly he'd have one fewer daughter if one were found to be disabled. He has made his beliefs clear about this.

So, why would you think his heart is any different from his words or his policies.

Oh -- and don't forget -- he had every intention of cutting off funds from wounded veterans (spend everywhere else but let's cut money there!?). So, there is plenty of evidence to show who he really is. We need not wonder.
06:49 PM on 03/20/2009
And I see that your words reflect your heart. Have you ever met Mr. Obama? Are you not guilty of writing or saying things that maybe you shouldn't have said or written?

Oh...and don't forget...you are dead wrong...I believe you are referring to the last President. Because this President has given the VA more money than the last President did...you remember him...he sent the guys there in the first place!

Go listen to Rush...you'll feel better!
06:10 PM on 03/20/2009
Obama spoke his heart in this Freudian. Once the Dems make abortions the law of the land, there will be no need for Special Olympics.
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MontanaSouth
Montanan in Tucson
06:44 PM on 03/20/2009
This is a very sad comment. Have you ever taken care of a child with Gauche disease? How about Tay-Sachs? Spend some time with these children and families and you just may understand the choice to end a pregnancy when you know your child has a serious inherited metabolic disease what will end his/her life at about 2-3 years, 2-3 very difficult and painful years for the child and the family. One may choose to have a child with Down’s syndrome and that child will have a beautiful life albeit with complication. That is one situation; it is not always the case. Severe congenital/genetic diseases are much more difficult. I have a niece with Tuberous Sclerosis; I love her dearly and cannot imagine not having her and the laughter she has given us. She competes each year in Special Winter Olympics, a short but fun snowshoe race. She loves it!
However, if there were a pre-natal test for this disease, I would not judge anyone who made the decision to terminate the pregnancy. She has serious seizure disorder, autistic behaviors and rages that have resulted in injury to herself and her parents. She, unlike many Down's Syndrome children, does not integrate into our society easily. She was born into a family with the emotional and financial ability to provide her with love and care. Many of these children are institutionalize, and that is not a good thing even today.
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postman606
06:50 PM on 03/20/2009
Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land Dr. Freud.
06:01 PM on 03/20/2009
First of all, I have no problem with the President... What I do have a problem with is the attitude that allowed the comment. He said it to be funny at the cost of someone else. And the attitude across our country is the same. This is not about Special Olympics, but rather ALL PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES....
To prove my point, would it ever be considered funny, humorous or acceptable for him to say "was like the Disabled Vets or something." Never!
The "r" Word Campaign is not about the WORD but rather the attitude and prejudice toward people with developmental disabilities.
Spread the word to end the word....
www.therword.org
06:41 PM on 03/20/2009
Don't forget -- Obama had every intention to cut funding to wounded soldiers. And remember when he cancelled his vist to the vet hospital in Germany because he couldn't get a photo op out of it. So, he does not have any more love for disabled soldiers than he does for disabled children.

My son attends an autism school where a good majority of the parents voted for Obama. I doubt any of them would find this humorous -- they'd find it sad I'm sure. They would not appreciate "get over it" comments either.

I have a daughter who attends a Catholic elementary school in an urban area, and the huge majority of parents there voted for this president too. When I watched him pull the legs out from under the successful school voucher program in D.C., kicking less fortunate children out of these schools, even the school his own daughters attend, well, I certainly wondered what the families at my daughter's struggling school were thinking about that move -- coming from the man of "hope."

Why anyone would think that this is a sensitive man is beyond me. His passion comes off a teleprompter.
06:57 PM on 03/20/2009
SMHC..you really need to check your facts. Seriously, I'm sure Rush is on the radio somewhere.
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MontanaSouth
Montanan in Tucson
06:59 PM on 03/20/2009
Please, the cancelled visit to the veterans hospital is a bogus story. He has no intention to cut funding to the wounded veterans. Facts are useful, you should look some of them up.
RE: voucher program.
White House spokesman Thomas Vietor said Tuesday that Obama supports allowing the current students to remain in the program until they graduate from high school but not permitting the addition of new students.

"The president has repeatedly said that school vouchers are not a long-term solution to our educational challenges, but in this instance believes that we should try to find a way to keep from disrupting the students currently enrolled in this program," Vietor said. "He looks forward to working with Congress to find a solution."

There is a comprehensive study that will come out before anything is done on this program. If it shows that the students are benefiting from the voucher system, the democrats that appose the voucher system will reconsider their position.

The president has not pulled the legs out from under anything.
07:02 PM on 03/20/2009
I agree Lulla ok, it's the underlying assumptions and attitudes that lead to these types of comments when people (even Presidents) are speaking off the cuff... it's such a culturally accepted phenomena I'm really not surprised. I like Obama as a President, but I don't like this part of his or our nation's psyche.
05:52 PM on 03/20/2009
I read that Rush Limbaugh criticized the president and says he would have never made the comment, but I guess he forgot about Nov. 2, 2000 when he repeatedly referred to "retards" and suggested that they should not have the right to vote. HYPOCRITE!
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KarlaElisa
The atmosphere is Toxic
06:23 PM on 03/20/2009
How bout Rush making fun of Michael J. Fox? THAT was MEANT in an entirely different way.

Obama WAS being self deprecating and I'm sure we've all had slips like that. Intent counts here folks.
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BronxRobb
Stongly Opinionated!
05:50 PM on 03/20/2009
The best line of the whole interview?

Jay Leno thanking President Obama and declaring it "the best night of my life."

Cue the tape!
05:48 PM on 03/20/2009
Isn't it funny how when a critical comments are made about a particular person or group, that person or group immediately accepts the apology and moves on but the advantage takers are the ones who try to hang on to make more of the issue than it actually is?

The head of the Special Olympics has already gone on TV several times to announce that they have accepted President Obama's personal apology and even his invitation to come to the White House. Even some of the kids from the Special Olympics have challenged him to a good natured game of bowling when they visit.

Everyone without some kind of an agenda to pursue knows that Obama meant no harm in his comments. But it's always the ones "least" affected that are the most outraged and want to make a novel out of a short story.

The people most affected by Obama's comments have accepted his apology and moved on...the rest of you should follow suit!
06:01 PM on 03/20/2009
Um ... Don Imus ... that lasted WEEKS ... I don't recall a whole lot of "accepting an apology and moving on" on the part of the race-baiters and poverty-pimps.
06:40 PM on 03/20/2009
Wow...you are really stupid aren't you?

Saying that the head of the Special Olympics speaks for all persons of physical and mental handicaps, and those that are family or friends of those facing this plight, is like saying that Jesse Jackson speaks for all black people. Just because one person accepts a lame apology doesn't make it O.K.

He is the president of the United States...not due to my vote. That means we, and I use we loosely, have said that he is the pinnacle of what represents the United States...HE shouldn't fall into the same pathetic jokes as a 6th grader trying to "prove" he is cool by making fun of the MH or LD classrooms.

If this is how he is going to treat a group that, generally speaking (from the mentally handicapped standpoint) can not defend themselves, how will he behave when he deals with true diplomats that have earned their dignitary roles...based on experience and education rather than empty promises of change.

- An educated college student who is proud to be a Republican
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CUL8R
Know better, do better.
08:14 PM on 03/20/2009
**playing on smallest violin EVER**
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meowomon
Pagan and a real lefty sort of gal.
05:48 PM on 03/20/2009
No more fat people jokes either!!!
This user has chosen to opt out of the Badges program
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05:45 PM on 03/20/2009
This is why presidents shouldn't go on late night comedy TV
05:55 PM on 03/20/2009
I'm mostly disappointed that he chose to go on with one of the lamest possible hosts. Seriously, he can go anywhere and he picks Leno?
05:45 PM on 03/20/2009
I agree with June, much to do about nothing. EVERYONE has made a bonehead remark in their life. The sad thing is that media spends so much time on these silly mistakes, and forgets about the big picture. Some of us never followed or really cared about the President this much until we got Barack, someone we could relate to, and all I'm seeing is people trying to bring him down.

Find something else to talk about.
05:44 PM on 03/20/2009
As a conservative, I'm against the whole "mock-indignation" industry, so I don't want to see my side fall victim to that. The real issue here is the double standard. Obama has received a little heat for the statement, which is a step in the right direction, but can you imagine if a conservative had said it...? The real issue here (indeed the only issue) is double standards.
05:39 PM on 03/22/2009
The offense caused goes above and beyond political insults.
05:40 PM on 03/22/2009
That is, the offense by President Obama's remark, regardless of whether he meant it offensively.