Opinion: No laughing here over Obama’s latest travel gaffe


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Just watch, sometime soon -- maybe even this morning -- some lamestream journalist will start collecting all the gaffes from President Obama’s latest foreign jaunt.

The funniest so far was his not knowing what day or year it was in London on Tuesday when he signed the guest book at Westminster Abbey. Obama reportedly asked someone nearby what the date was and they told him ‘May 24,’ assuming incorrectly that the leader of the free world would know what year it was (2011).

Instead, Obama wrote in his leftist scrawl ’24 May 2008.’

Understandable in a way. Those were heady days back then when the ex-state senator was not crawling along with approval ratings in the 40s and he was fixing to tie up the Democratic nomination and make Oprah Winfrey cry off her false eyelashes in Denver.

Although, to be accurate, on May 24 2008 Hillary Clinton had yet to ....


... become convinced of Obama’s impending win. Now, she’s on this trip as secretary of State, taking a tour of Buckingham Palace artworks while Obama has a royal sleepover there. And for sure some journalist will drag up his favorite hilarious Obama gaffes from the past -- the 57 states gaffe, the president of Canada gaffe, the Sioux-City-Sioux-Falls-where-are-we-anyway gaffe, the Austrians-speak-Austrian gaffe and the beloved Cinco de Cuatro gaffe.

But we’re not going to do that here this morning. Nor will we be detailing the rough ....

... patch the president’s limo encountered Monday in Dublin. Somebody already did that here with a funny video.

Oh, wait, that hypothetical journo would also recall the 2009 Obama gift gaffes -- the movie DVDs for Prime Minister Gordon Brown that wouldn’t work on British players, the toy helicopters for Brown’s children, the iPod for Queen Elizabeth II thoughtfully pre-loaded with some of the Real Good Talker’s own speeches.

And the tiny pat that Michelle Obama gave that darling little lady who wears such huge hats anyway, bless her royal heart.

This time the Obamas were in better form. No royal touching. And they gave Her Majesty a leather-bound volume of memorabilia from her parents’ 1939 U.S. visit.

And the queen gave Obama a collection of letter exchanges between American presidents and Queen Victoria, which the Chicago pol will no doubt plunge into the moment the NBA playoffs finish, if they ever do.

The Obamas also had a pleasant chat with the royal newlyweds, who didn’t invite the Obamas to their wedding. The Americans were busy, anyway. It must be a real thrill for Obama to stay overnight in the palace of the monarch who ruled his father’s homeland for so long.

The good news is that Obama got off on this foreign journey without launching air attacks against another country, unlike the March family tour of South America when he took on Libya -- which we’re still taking on, come to think of it.


It’s also good that Obama was out of town for coverage of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. (His full text is here.)

The Israeli leader’s remarks were better received by Congress than the American leader’s most recent speech there.

Netanyahu got sandbagged last week by Obama’s Middle East address, talking publicly about, among other things, peace talks there starting with the pre-1967 borders of Israel.

Only troublemakers would suggest that Netanyahu’s two dozen bipartisan standing ovations from Congress -- the longest coming when the Israeli bluntly said that starting from the indefensible 1967 borders was a non-starter -- had anything to do with rebuffing the president’s treatment of America’s closest Middle Eastern ally.

With Donald Trump on hype hiatus, the president’s trip has provided laugh fodder for late-night comics. Jay Leno reported late last night that in Obama’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth, the British ruler had suggested returning to pre-1776 borders.

Speaking of jokes, let’s talk secret code names a sec. Obama took a little heat early this month from Native Americans, who wanted him to apologize for allowing the military’s execution of Osama bin Laden to be codenamed Operation Geronimo after the fabled Apache warrior.

Every secret service also has secret code names for prominent protectees.The British chose a possibly derogatory codename for the American president this time, the word ‘Chalaque.’ That’s Punjabi for crafty or cunning.


Scotland Yard innocently explained the code names are chosen by computer, which doesn’t explain why they didn’t gin up another.

But anyway, the idea of secret code names is that those folks with the little coiled wires draining out of their ears can say the secret word on the radio without tipping off bad guys who they’re discussing.

If we were one of those annoying journalists poking around, we would ask, What exactly is the point of secret code names that everyone knows?

But we won’t do that.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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