|Hillary’s biggest gaffe,
courtesy of SNL.
President Obama said the following today at the Univision forum. Some are trying to call this the biggest gaffe in four years. How exactly is this a gaffe when it’s 100% true and there’s nothing embarrassing at all about what the president said?
Here’s what he said:
I think that I’ve learned some lessons over the last four years, and the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle class families. So something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward.
Here’s the gaffe, per Buzzfeed:
“The most important lesson I’ve learned is, you can’t change Washington from the inside.”
I’m not sure what the quote means out of context like this, let alone does it come across as a gaffe.
Perhaps Ben is suggesting that it sounds like the President is saying you have to elect someone who isn’t in Washington to change Washington. Except if you bother reading the actual quote from the President, it’s clear what the sentence means – the President spells it out:
Something that I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward.
How is that not clear, let alone a “gaffe”?
This is a gaffe? The idea seems to be that the isolated sentence shows Obama admitting failure at one of the central goals of his presidency and declaring this goal impossible. Was this an admission of failure? Well, yes, it was. You know how we know this? Because he said so right there in that first sentence: “The fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing.”
But come on — Obama is not saying that achieving change in Washington is impossible. Obama is making a standard inside-game-outside-game argument here..He is making an argument about howmeaningful change is achieved. He’s arguing that the only way to achieve it is by compelling action from elected officials — by mobilizing public pressure on them through the engagement of as many Americans as possible into the political process. If this is a gaffe, then Obama also committed a major gaffe in his convention speech, which was carefully scripted over the course of weeks. In it, Obama said precisely the same thing, citing his own achievements and claiming they were only enabled by the American people:
“The election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens — you were the change. You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.
“You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.”
At this point, if serious people in the mainstream media are going to take every single sentence of every single moment out of context and see if it sounds funny standing on its own out of context, then it’s over. There’s no hope for politics in this town. And there’s no hope for the media.