President Cracks Special Olympics Bowling Joke On Leno

President Barack Obama might have rolled a gutter ball on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

Toward the end of the interview on Thursday, Obama told host Jay Leno he's been practicing at the White House's bowling alley but wasn't happy with his score of 129.

Leno complimented Obama on the score, but the president quipped, "It was like the Special Olympics or something," which prompted laughter from the audience.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said the president's offhand remark was not meant to disparage the Special Olympics, only to poke some fun at the commander-in-chief's bowling skills.

"He thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world," Burton told reporters flying back to Washington with Obama aboard Air Force One.

A call for comment to a Special Olympics spokesman was not returned late Thursday.

Despite making fun of his score, the president appears to be getting better the more he visits the White House lanes, which President Truman installed in 1947. During a campaign photo op a year ago at a bowling alley in Altoona, Pa., he rolled only a 37 in seven frames. The clip of the disastrous game was replayed on late night television shows such as Leno's — one of Obama's few campaign gaffes.

President Barack Obama told Leno he was stunned when he learned of the bonuses that bailed-out insurance giant AIG was paying its employees.

Obama told "The Tonight Show" host the payments raise moral and ethical problems -- and the administration's going to do everything it can to get them back.

But Obama added the bigger problem is the culture that allowed traders to claim them. He says that's got to change if the economy is to recover.

The president also says his embattled treasury chief, Timothy Geithner, is doing an "outstanding job." He told Leno that Geithner is a smart guy who's been handed an incredibly full plate, but he's handling it all with grace and good humor.

Listing the recession, the banking crisis and the need to coordinate with other countries, Obama acknowledged Geithner's "on the hot seat". But he says too many in Washington are trying to figure out who to blame for things -- when they should be focused on fixing them.


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  • by Jeff Location: Winterville on May 25, 2009 at 07:41 AM
    Poor Mr. President. One slip of the tongue and you get all the negative publicity. It must really stink to be in the public eye, having undereducated citizens criticizing your every move. We have a fine President. He just made a dumb comment like we all do sometimes.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on May 11, 2009 at 12:24 PM
    Political analyst, I go by what my 401K says about the guy. When both housed went under the control of democrats, it has been going downhill since. This is based on the facts. I did well under Bush and lost 30 years of it under "your guy". By the way, I am a democrat, what you call Blue Dog. I didn't vote for an inexperienced, liberal socialist with a progressive backing by George Soros, why did you?
  • by Political Analyst Location: NC on May 8, 2009 at 11:03 PM
    Anyone who thinks Obama is a bad president and at the same time thinks Bush was a good president needs some serious lessons in politics and humanity.
  • by Wanda Location: Kenansville on Apr 13, 2009 at 05:43 AM
    Go Obama!
  • by seamore Location: Greenville on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM
    Im not saying what he said was right, but come on. We are way too scared to say anything that my hurt some ones feelings.where living in a country scared to hurt feelings I wish everyone would stop being push overs and have some brass. Just so ya know, im not standing up for the man. Hes the first to worry about feelings. Shows ya ''A''
  • by Ordnanceman Location: Greenville on Apr 6, 2009 at 05:26 AM
    I think Obama is just mad because he can't qualify for the special olympics.
  • by Mary Location: Chocowinity on Mar 29, 2009 at 08:57 PM
    You are right Kathy. It is hard to believe we have such an inadeqate leader, that is determined to turn this country into his ideas, socialism and massive federal gov. regulations going against The Constitution. It is so obvious he cannot speak without reading a telepromter.Now on his town hall meetings the people are hand-picked and the questions are planned before hand. It is more bizarre each and everyday. What will tomorrow bring???
  • by Kathy Location: Goldsboro on Mar 27, 2009 at 09:31 PM
    I've never heard so many excuses for someone who knows nothing about being a President and proving it more and more everyday! If he can't read it,he can't answer the question! YOU can see the mess he makes if someone isn't telling him what to say. Boy Obama is making "I told you so" easier everyday! The truth hurts!Not really it is just ruining the country! How sad!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2009 at 01:35 AM
    Lavon: This reminds me of arguements with my kids. Trying to make a point with someone that just doesn't have the intellect to return a valid and educated response is very humerous indeed. Thansk for the laughs.
  • by AL Location: Greene CO on Mar 25, 2009 at 02:29 PM
    He should not have joked about that . He was so unpolitically correct! He has no business saying things like he did when he was a gold medalist in the Special Olympics himself. What a MORON!!!!
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