Obama’s Misguided Attempt at Disability Humor

After Barack Obama‘s appearance on Jay Leno last night, NBC released a few clips to the rest of the media so networks like Fox News, CNN, and your local news could share in the “history” of a sitting president going on a late night talk show. (That, and plug The Tonight Show.) But there was one segment NBC, curiously, didn’t release: The part where Obama, famous for once bowling a 29, described his attempt at bowling at the White House like so: “It was like Special Olympics, or something.” Argh. For a man who’s so intent on reaching out to all communities that he welcomed Rick Warren at the risk of infuriating gays, this one-off comment could prove to be about 10 steps backward. Even before the taped Leno appearance aired on the East Coast, meanwhile, Obama’s camp was apologizing.

“The president made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics,” said deputy press secretary Bill Burton on Air Force One. “He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world.”

Here’s Keith Olbermann discussing the matter on MSNBC (a NBC corporate cousin, of course) after the taping, but before the broadcast, with none other than fellow late night host Craig Ferguson: