President Obama drew praise from both parties today for retracting his offhand comment on the David Letterman show that he was asking wealthy Democratic nominees to put their investment portfolios in a "blind trust" before joining his administration. Visual-impairment spokespersons called the comment "hurtfully sightist" and demanded $2.1 million more in government stimulus funds for the ocularly challenged. "What's next," asked one angry spokesman, "inviting Stevie Wonder to the White House for a screening?"
This follows by one week a previous vision-centered gaffe, in which President Obama began a speech with the phrase, "In the view of this administration..." As the audience gasped and PR spokesman Robert Gibbs signaled wildly to the lectern, the President immediately realized the obvious truth that sightless people who work for and support his administration have no "view" at all and do not deserve to be marginalized by careless sight-based language in a presidential address. Reacting swiftly to a Gibbs-sponsored insertion on his teleprompter, the president apologized and promised more jobs for the differently sighted, then smoothly returned to the original text, which dealt with National Rose-Growing Week.
More recently, the president drew praise for his quick recovery from the "Special Olympics" remark on Leno, observing that "anyone in any Olympics is special to me," and adding that he knows several people in wheelchairs, all Democrats, who have bowled 300 or higher.
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