Washington Almost Outraged by Harsh Language
WASHINGTON – Politicians and pundits on Thursday reacted with shock and disgust at news analyst’s derisive referral to President Obama as a male reproductive organ.
MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program with Joe Scarborough to discuss President Obama’s press conference the previous day. When the subject turned to Obama’s criticism of Republicans for not wanting to compromise on the debt ceiling, Halperin, after checking to see if it was alright to offer his unvarnished thoughts, said he thought Obama “was kind of a dick yesterday,” to the astonishment of those around him.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” Scarborough afterward said. “I had to keep my composure on the air, but inside I was like, ‘Ow, my frickin’ ears! He’s violating my frickin’ virgin ears!’ When we were done I had to wash them out with soap, it was so bad.” MSNBC reacted swiftly, suspending Halperin indefinitely without pay.
The personal tenor of the remarks rankled many inside the beltway. “There’s a clearly drawn line that journalists just don’t cross,” says New York Times columnist David Brooks. “You can advocate torture or undeclared wars or defaulting on the debt and wrecking the world economy, but for goodness’ sake, don’t be rude about it.”
Of greater concern was the lack of deference shown to the President. “If there’s one thing you don’t do in Washington, it’s question authority,” says former Vice President Dick Cheney. “We made it very clear during my tenure that you don’t contradict the President during wartime. And Halperin can’t say he didn’t get that memo, because I delivered it to him personally.”
Halperin has apologized for the remark, saying it “did not live down to my usual standards of conventional wisdom,” such as his suggestion that Donald Trump may still run for President and have a shot at winning. “I hope in the future I can be less obviously wrong.”
President Obama accepted Halperin’s apology through his spokesperson Jay Carney. “The President has made clear that there are no hard feelings,” Carney said in a press briefing Friday. “He knows Halperin didn’t mean anything, as usual.”
By Doug Limey