Obama calls Romney a “bullsh*tter.” Should we care?

Politico reported yesterday afternoon that President Obama seems to have, partly in jest, suggested that Mitt Romney has a problem with the truth.

And he said it with color.

Rolling Stone cover, “Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview,” by Douglas Brinkley: “We arrived at the Oval Office for our 45-minute interview … on the morning of October 11th. … As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. … [S]he said, ‘Tell him: You can do it.’ Obama grinned. … ‘You know, kids have good instincts,’ Obama offered. ‘They look at the other guy and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”’”

And the world is aghast.


First, from Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post (who did a fabulous satire on the Big Bird issue a few weeks ago, btw), presenting one side:

Obama called Romney a bullshitterA criticism it would be impossible to level against the president and vice president, especially with reference to their debate performance, is that they have treated their opponents with excess respect. Far from it.

From Joe Biden’s head-shaking at Paul Ryan to Obama’s explaining to Mitt Romney what a nuclear submarine might be, they have been, well — rude. But they’ve energized the base! “Energizing the base” sometimes looks an awful lot like “being profoundly impolite to the person in the room with you at the time, for the benefit of those watching at home and pounding their armchairs. Because, after all, he DESERVES it! That nincompoop!”

But it’s not just for the benefit of those watching.

This is a rude campaign. When you are running a rude campaign, you think that this is something you can call your opponent in front of a reporter. And, sure, you can. But I wish you wouldn’t.

Maybe there is nothing novel about this. Sure, others have said worse. But that doesn’t make it less unpleasant to hear.

Okay, woah there.

Mitt Romney has been running around suggesting that the President is a socialist, which in American vernacular means “communist,” which really means “Soviet.”  Then there’s Romney’s cute little birther joke.  And Reince Priebus’ (and Romney’s) never-ending efforts to paint President as “European” and “foreign” – that panders to the communist thing, the birther thing, and the racist thing. Then there’s the time Haley Barbour “joked” about assassinating President Obama.

And let’s not even talk about George Bush’s penchant for flipping the bird (on the record), and the time Bush called a NYT reporter a “major league a**hole.”

Or the time Dick Cheney told a US Senator, “go f*ck yourself.”

Not that I want to compare Obama to Romney, Bush or Cheney, but calling someone a “bullsh*tter” is hardly on the same level  as the things they’ve said. (I’m only using the asterisk because our ad people don’t like it when we swear :)

And I beg to differ about Obama and Biden running a rude campaign.  Puhleez.  I wish they were running a rude campaign.  If anything, our criticism of this President these past four years has been that he’s too nice to the opposition, not that he’s too rude.  And seriously, you’re going to quibble with Biden rolling his eyes at Paul Ryan’s lies?  The lies didn’t offend you, Biden’s incredulity at being lied to is what bothers.  Really?

I get that some people are more offended than others at foul language.  But with all the garbage that the Republicans have thrown at Obama all these years – remember, a large segment of the population, especially Republicans, still think he’s a Muslim thanks to them – the fact that all the President mustered in response was a b-rate swear word is hardly the kind of thing to get worked up over, IMHO.

What do you folks think?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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