Obama lost without teleprompter

By Richard Larsen

During the 1992 presidential election, Dan Quayle, who was George Bush Sr.’s vice president, made a blunder that lives in infamy primarily with standup comedians. With a classroom of elementary school students, Quayle corrected a student who spelled “potato” and, taking his cue from a spelling card prepared by the teacher, told the student his spelling was wrong. It should be spelled “potatoe,” the vice president explained. To this day, jokes are made of Quayle’s gaff and others that have yielded innumerable laughs for comedians. 
Sen. Barack Obama is providing his share of memorable gaffs that should yield considerable fodder for the late-night comedians as well, except that some of his verbal blunders are serious. Were it not for the fact that the mainstream media has already anointed the senator as president, we would have his more significant blunders plastered across the pages of the nation’s newspapers. In fact, coverage is so abysmally and incompetently absent from the mainstream media, one has to peruse the primary texts of his speeches to find his gaffs.
A couple of weeks ago while addressing a crowd in Missouri, Obama said the U.S. has so many Arabic interpreters in Iraq that there aren’t enough to help our troops in Afghanistan.
It’s like Arab – Arab – Arabic interpreters, Arab language speakers, we only have a certain number of them, and if they’re all in Iraq, then it’s harder for us to use them,” Obama said.
But Afghans do not speak Arabic, senator. They speak Dari and Pashto. Well, there goes the “smartest guy in the room” label.
On Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” on May 4, the senator was asked, “Would you respond against Iran?” He answered, “It – Israel is an ally of ours. It is the most important ally we have in the region, and there’s no doubt that we would act forcefully and appropriately on any attack against Iran, nuclear or otherwise.” Somehow in there Obama got Israel and Iran confused. I’d say there’s quite a difference between the two, and yet he says he’d act forcefully on any attack against Iran. If that had been President Bush or John McCain, we’d still be hearing about it.
The best one is a real winner. Two weeks ago Obama told an Oregon audience that “I’ve been in 57 states, (with) I think one left to go.” I guess if he had that American flag lapel pin on that he makes a point of not wearing (unless he’s in a red state) he could have glanced down and counted the stars and realized there are only 50, not 58 states in the Union. Maybe it’s just a math deficiency, but you know it wouldn’t have been shrugged off to fatigue if it was John McCain who had said it; they would have called it a “senior moment.” 
Maybe his comment was a Freudian slip and reflected his Muslim upbringing. For there are in fact 57 Muslim states around the world. But then he’d still be off by one. I’m perplexed. What makes his statement even worse is that it wasn’t even a complete sentence. I had to add the conjunction parenthetically for the senator’s phrase to make sense!
Let’s see now, the senator has problems with math, English and languages, but that’s not all. Let’s add geography to the list. Before the Kentucky primary, Obama explained that he was trailing Hillary Clinton because, “Sen. Clinton, I think, is much better known, coming from a nearby state of Arkansas. So it’s not surprising that she would have an advantage in some of those states in the middle.” Actually, senator, you come from one of those states in the middle, Illinois, and I’ve never seen a map where Arkansas is closer to Kentucky than Illinois is. 
Now, in the “detached from reality” category, the senator told a Portland, Ore., crowd last weekend that Iran doesn’t “pose a serious threat to us, along with Cuba and Venezuela, because they’re tiny countries with small defense budgets.” I wonder what kind of a defense budget 19 terrorists had when their primary weapons were a handful of box-cutters.
Sen. Obama is very articulate when he’s got a teleprompter. It’s when he goes off script that he runs into problems. I wonder if he’ll have to carry around a stack of 3×5 cards with cues and factoids for him if he’s president since he won’t be able to take a teleprompter everywhere. 
The senator is human and he makes mistakes. The media just don’t tell us about them, proving their bias by conspicuously ignoring his gaffs, and proving their predisposition to his foreordination as president. He is not messianic in spite of his “rock star” status with the press. And in spite of his claims, he is not a unifier, as there is no experiential evidence of him “unifying” in Illinois or in Washington, D.C. And, in spite of his grandiloquence behind a teleprompter, it’s obvious he hasn’t the intelligence to justify his position as the Democratic nominee. 
As for his verbal blunders, I suspect he would explain them away by declaring, “they’re just words.”


Richard Larsen of Pocatello is president of the brokerage firm Larsen Financial. He graduated from Idaho State University with degrees in history and political science.

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