The Telegraph (UK) notes that President Obama made an "uncharacteristic" gaffe the other day by calling the Falklands Islands -- known as the Malvinas in Argentina -- the "Maldives." And it did so by pointing out ... that George W. Bush was more prone to such blunders, "Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W. Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives."
While President George W. Bush certainly made his fair share of gaffes, one can certainly wonder if the former chief exec was indeed more apt to make such errors, or whether it was the media -- in this case the foreign press -- that highlighted them more often than it does those of our current president.
For example, take Oliver Burkeman's "homage" to Mr. Bush in the [UK] Guardian just prior to the former president's departure from the White House in 2009: "The gaffes, the gibberish, the gurning. Admit it: there's a part of him you're going to miss" he writes. He then includes the memorable moment of Mr. Bush walking into a locked door while in China, followed by just about every memorable verbal/grammar gaffe of his presidency.
The [UK] Daily Mail giggled at the former president mixing up Austria with Australia, while the aforementioned BBC certainly had fun with the former president's blunders with British royalty. Ironically, our current president thought that Austrian was an actual language, and he's had his own share of gaffes with regards to the British and their royalty.
So, are such blunders, verbal and otherwise, "uncharacteristic" of President Obama? Let's take a look at some classics:
- Obama thought there are fifty-eight states in the Union.
- Obama said that Hawaii was part of Asia.
- Obama didn't know that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez was first elected during the tenure of President Clinton, not President Bush, whom he blamed for Chávez's ascension.
- Obama thought ten thousand of people died in Kansas tornadoes back in May, 2008.
- Obama honored "fallen heroes" on 2008's Memorial Day, stating "and I see many of them in the audience here today."
- Obama once spoke about his uncle, who supposedly "helped liberate" the Auschwitz concentration camp. Except that the Americans didn't liberate that camp. The Russians did in January of 1945.
- Obama repeated his Auschwitz blunder by later speaking of his grandfather, who fought in Patton's army. He also then noted that his grandfather heard the stories of fellow troops who "first entered" the Treblinka concentration camp. Except that Treblinka was never liberated.
- Obama didn't know that, with re-election, he only serves a maximum of eight years.
- Obama thought that a bomb -- one -- fell on Pearl Harbor that fateful day in December of 1941.
- Obama thought he served on the Senate Banking Committee ... even though he never served on the Senate Banking Committee.
- Obama didn't know what a "corpsman" is, pronouncing it "corpse-man."
- Obama claimed that Winston Churchill once stated "We don't torture" to supposedly back up his policy differences with former President Bush in the War on Terror. Except that, there's no record of Churchill ever saying that, but there are records of the British MI19 torturing German POWs from 1940-1948 in what was known as the "London Cage."
Newsbusters forum member Blonde has a handy-dandy reference guide for many other such goofs by our current chief exec. (My apologies for not giving the appropriate credit earlier!)
The question to the UK Telegraph is: Was your sub-headline an actual fact -- or a blatant editorial opinion?