The Blog

Priorities: Obama Gives Four Times the Attention to GOP as Oil Spill in Speech

5:10 PM, Jun 2, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

I noted earlier that it sure felt like Obama was spending very little of his speech today on his purported top priority— the oil spill in the Gulf. The transcript is below the fold (also here), but here are the totals:

Total Speech: 5,433 words

Oil spill: 193 words

GOP: 676 words

Miscellaneous sporting events: 96 words

If one were generous, one could extend the oil spill word-count to 345 words if one included a paragraph on the general dangers of drilling, but after that Obama pivots to his standard cap-and-trade pitch. 

So, the party out of power was somewhere between two and four times more important than the economy-threatening, ecosystem-strangling, gigantic oil spill, which is Obama's No. 1 priority. (There's a joke in there somewhere for a liberal blogger about understanding the president's inability to differentiate between two overpowering, slimy forces of greed. Bum-dump-ching! Fun with partisan stereotypes.) 

Obama doesn't have to talk about the oil spill for the whole speech (though talking about it a bit more than this would certainly help perceptions). The problem here is that the oil spill comes in so very far behind something as petty as complaining about John Boehner.

Boehner apparently wasn't flattered by the elevation of his party above the president's No. 1 priority:

“The president diminishes the Office of the President when he resorts to straw man arguments that willfully mischaracterize the views of others," Boehner shot back this afternoon. "All of the President’s talk of post-partisanship, reaching out, and finding common ground reminds us that the country deserves better than his hyper-partisan speech today.”

"It’s clear from his harsh partisan rhetoric today that President Obama has run out of excuses for his broken promises on the economy," the House Republican leader said Wednesday. 

I don't know if he's diminishing the office, but he's certainly tarnishing his own image, and not fixing the narrative that he's more concerned with politics than the oil spill. The whole speech felt like a giant non sequitur.

Update: It's like Obama's trying to take Spike Lee's advice—"One time, go off!" director Spike Lee urged on CNN's "AC 360°." "If there's any one time to go off, this is it, because this is a disaster."— but the only thing he's capable of "going off" on is Republicans.

Full speech below the fold:

Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Thank you very much. 

Let me begin by thanking Dr. Jared Cohon, and the entire Carnegie Mellon community, for welcoming me once again, and for the terrific work that he and the administration, faculty and staff do here each and every day.

I also want to acknowledge your outstanding mayor -- who doesn’t look any older than the last time I saw him -- Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.  There he is, right there.  (Applause.) 

It is great to be back at Carnegie Mellon, and in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh.  I love visiting a good sports town.  Last year, I stole Dan Rooney to serve as my ambassador to Ireland.  (Laughter.)  To make it up, I invited both the Steelers and the Penguins to the White House to celebrate their championships.  (Applause.)  Seeing how the Blackhawks are headed to Philly tonight with a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals, I'm just glad that we're on this side of the state.  (Laughter.) 

I noticed a couple of people said they were rooting for the Blackhawks, which tells me something about the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philly.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers