Tuesday, March 24

Obama on The Tonight Show

I watched President Obama on the Tonight Show last week. He shines in that type of setting. He's one of the guys. The neighbor next door. The dad in the carpool lane.

However, I find it ironic that the forum the President used to speak to the American people is the show that brings us Jaywalking, a popular bit where Jay Leno asks random people on the street questions about current events. What makes the bit work is that the people are usually clueless about what's going on in the world. At times it's down right frightening when they don't know who the current vice president is or the words to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Unfortunately for the President, his laborious and mind numbing explanation of the economy didn't make the news. It was a quick, off the cuff remark he made about Special Olympics that topped the headlines.

Before kids, I worked for Special Olympics for five years as the director of public relations for the PA chapter. So this little problem would've landed on my desk.

Honestly, it was a passing comment and a stupid slip on his part. I don't believe he really understood what he was saying. But what a gold mine of an opportunity for Special Olympics. I know that they last few years have been tough financially for all non-profits and Special Olympics has not been immune from the decline in donations.

I would've had Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver on every news program forgiving the President and then touting the incredible stories of Special Olympics athletes and their achievements in bowling and the other 30 sports they can compete in year-round.

I also would've challenged the President to a bowling game with several of Special Olympics' best bowlers. I'm afraid the President will need a better score than 127 to even compete. These are true athletes who train and compete seriously.

So don't feel bad for Special Olympics athletes. The President actually did them a favor by drawing attention to a fantastic organization that has impacted millions of lives world wide.

***If you are from the media and reading this, please don't call them "the Special Olympics" or "Special Olympians." Both or those are like nails on a chalkboard to Special Olympics athletes, parents, fans and former PR directors. It is simply "Special Olympics" and they are "athletes" or "Special Olympics athletes."


Jane @ What About Mom? said...

I thought it was a funny gaffe, and interesting to see such a normally-articulate man make it. (And don't we Republicans pride ourselves on being politically incorrect? Or is that just when it's us?).

One of my favorite movies is The Ringer, with Johnny Knoxville. I think it's a fantastic portrayal of Special Olympic athletes. :)

Melissa said...

Seriously, now....I would LOVE to see our new president put as much effort into running our country as he puts into his "image". I'm tired of Obama the Rock Star....start putting some detail and intelligent thought into what is coming out of Washington, please.

The Gang's Momma said...

Not just a great opportunity for Special Olympics (the institute) to show its mettle and capitalize on the exposure and free publicity.

Also a great opportunity for the families of Special Olympics athletes to show their mettle: be gracious in the forgiving, generous in the opportunity for him to "redeem the error" and advocate for the kids that are true heroes and too often UNSUNG!


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