Archive for the ‘Nancy Reagan’ Category

President-elect Obama’s first gaffe: A slap at Nancy Reagan

November 8, 2008

In a hasty and wise bit of damage control, president-elect Barack Obama quickly telephoned former First Lady Nancy Reagan this afternoon to apologize for “a careless and offhanded remark” he made about her this morning during his first post-election news conference.

Obama was asked how he was preparing to take over the White House, what books he’s reading, if he’d talked to any ex-presidents. He replied:

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan

“In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living. Obviously, President Clinton — I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.”

The passing reference to the former First Lady’s alleged interest in horoscopes struck some observers as a gratuitous slap at an old lady at a time Obama was trying to set a positive, professed bipartisan tone for his transition.

The Obama press office received numerous inquiries for explanation and reaction. And this afternoon issued the following statement:

““President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off-handed remark he made during today’s press conference.

“The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation,” said President-elect Obama Transition Team Spokesperson Stephanie Cutter.”

–Andrew Malcolm; The Los Angeles Times

Obama White House Potential Tinder Box

November 8, 2008

We all wish Barack Obama well.  We hope and pray for the future of America.  As my Dad used to say, “Whatever happens in America, whoever we elect, the Republic will survive.”

My Dad lived through great crises and achievements in America: sleeping in the U.S. Capitol building on December 7, 1941 following the devestating attack on Pearl Harbor that day.

Barack Obama’s White House, which in some ways started on election day and some say started even before that, will legally begin upon the swearing in of Vice President Joe Biden and Barack Obama himself as President of the United States on January 20, 2009.

Barack Obama’s White House has every potential to become a tinderbox of controversey, missteps and overreaching.  Here’s why:

-Hubris:  There have been many jokes, cartoons and other side remarks about “Barack the Messiah.”  The loftly language of Candidate Obama, Senator Obama, Professor Obama and now President Elect Obama lends itself to what I’ll call “uplift;” or a sense of loftiness.  It also lends itself to self-importance and ridicule.  President Obama, while being careful and measured and lofty might just end up sounding not presidential but sanctimonious.  This will be devestating on the world stage already filled with bufoons like Hugo Chavez and Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran.  And just as Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi referred to Barack Obama’s great “tan” and the world media seemed to say “there he goes again,” Mr. Obama’s now highly admired lofty tone can become the fodder for comedians overnight, if he isn’t careful.

President-elect Senator Barack Obama gives his victory speech ...
Above: President-elect Barack Obama

Gaffes:  Joe Biden has a well earned reputation as a gaffe machine.  But Team Obam has had him on a tight leash and nailed to a teleprompter.  But that can’t last.  Before long, the media will be saying, in all liklihood, “Say it isn’t so, Joe.”  And Vice President Biden won’t be the only one to make a gaffe, if history is any guide.  Remember Ronald reagan caught off-mike before a news confernce saying someing about bombing the Soviet Union?  Oops. 

Vice President-elect Joe Biden listens as President-elect Obama ...
Vice President-elect Joe Biden listens as President-elect Obama answers questions during a news conference in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


Everone has their slip ups.  Witness Barack Obama trying to make some fun during his first press conference by referring to Nancy Reagan and her “seances.”  Say it isn’t so, Barack.  You just got your facts wrong in what conservatives see as an attack on a dead “sainted” conservative president’s wife who is elderly and ill.  Not funny, Barack (Obama phoned Mrs. Reagan to say he was sorry).

Partisanship:  Our advice: Put America first and be bi-partisan in all things.  That’s patriotic.  If you just want to be a realist: keep your enemies close so you can watch them, Barack.  That’s what Abraham Lincoln said and did.  “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  Lincoln filled his cabinet and his kitchen cabinet with the opposition: he had a civil war to win.  The result was emancipation and union.  I fear, after the selection of Rahm Emanuel, who Paul Begala said was partisan “cross between a hemorrhoid and a toothache,” we could wind up with not “snakes on a plane” but “vipers in the White House.”  We hope the new White House denizens can reach out in good will and not to throttle others by the neck.  Won’t work.

White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel listens during ... 
White House Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel listens during a news conference by President-elect Obama in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So, not to rain on anyone’s parade, as a veteran of Washington some many years, I thought I’d raise the flag of caution and good will — which usually serve those in power much better than “Sherman though Atlanta.”

Sherman would have loved Rahm Emanuel.  And Obama picked him.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Obama apologizes for Nancy Reagan joke

November 8, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama called to apologize to former first lady Nancy Reagan on Friday after he made an errant joke at her expense in his first postelection press conference.

By Steven Dinan
The Washington Times

Mr. Obama, answering a question about which ex-presidents’ advice he sought, said he had “spoken to all of them that are living.” He went on, but appeared to realize he probably didn’t need the “living” qualifier, and explained, “I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.”

The joke at the expense of the ailing former first lady rubbed some who heard it the wrong way, and within hours Mr. Obama said he was wrong.

“President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off-handed remark he made during today’s press conference,” spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said in a statement Friday evening. “The president-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share, and they had a warm conversation.”

Reagan

Above: Mrs. Ronald (Nancy) Reagan

Mr. Obama seemed to get his facts backward in making the joke, aiming at Mrs. Reagan when it was actually Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton who wrote in her syndicated column during her time as first lady that she occasionally held imaginary conversations with long-dead first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

“I occasionally have imaginary conversations with Mrs. Roosevelt to try to figure out what she would do in my shoes,” Mrs. Clinton wrote in a June 1996 column. “She usually responds by telling me to buck up or at least to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros.”

Mrs. Reagan, by contrast, consulted an astrologer friend about auspicious days for scheduling events. The White House said the practice began after the attempt on President Reagan’s life.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library didn’t respond to a message asking about the incident.

After an election heavy on personality, in which the candidates made headway with voters on “The View,” “The Daily Show” and celebrity gossip blogs, maybe it was fitting Mr. Obama found himself explaining what books he’s reading, what kind of dog he’s going to get and which presidents he has talked to for advice in response to a question from Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet.

She asked: “I’m wondering what you’re doing to get ready. Have you spoke to any living ex-presidents, what books you might be reading? Everyone wants to know, what kind of dog are you going to buy for your girls? Have you decided on a private or public school for your daughters?”

Mr. Obama said the dog – something he promised his daughters on election night – is a “major issue” in their household. They are looking for a breed that is hypoallergenic because of his daughter Malia’s allergies.

“Our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me,” he said, referring to his being the child of a white American woman and a black Kenyan man.

“So whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things, I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household.”