2. Date Fright
Incident: Mr. and Mrs. Obama jetted up to New York City for a “date night” — dinner and a Broadway play — in May, 2009.
Criticism: Conservative commentators and Republican officials slagged the president for having a flashy night on the town during a recession.
Infuriating fact: A few months earlier, executives from the struggling, bailed-out American auto industry were widely criticized for traveling to Washington hearings in expensive private jets. Why should Mr. Obama get a free pass?
Mitigating fact: Mr. and Mrs. Obama seem to have a, you know, loving marriage.
Quotable: Said Rick Santorum: “I think [Mr. Obama] has to realize that flying to New York is self-indulgent. Go down to the corner bar and have a drink, a shot and a beer. It does not matter where you go with your wife, it’s with your wife. That’s really the point.”
Cake rating: Zero slices. In a harried, fast-paced world where romance is more or less dead - sorry, did you just propose to me? I was checking my iPhone - bashing the president for being a good husband is just tacky.
3. Concerted Efforts
Incident: In May of last year, the Obamas held a “celebration of poetry and prose” party in the East Room of the White House, with Chicago rapper Common among the invited guests.
Criticism: Common — real name: Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. — wrote a song honoring Assata Shakur, a convicted-cop killer and fugitive former Black Panther now living in Cuba; the rapper also expressed public support for convicted murderer and controversial cause celebre Mumia Abu-Jamal. A spokesman for the New Jersey State Police union blasted the White House.
Mitigating fact: Among hip-hop fans, Common is known for thoughtful, positive and literate music; he also does charitable work with poor children in Chicago.
Quotable: “The young people who read this stuff, hear this stuff, are getting a very dangerous and deadly message,” said president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association union David Jones, referring to Common’s lyrics.
Cake rating: One cupcake. A little tone deaf when it comes to law enforcement, sure, but hardly a textbook Let Them Eat Cake moment - in fact, it was a lot less annoying from a have-and-have-not standpoint than the time the Dow plummeted on the same day that Stevie Wonder, Charles Barkley, Jay-Z, Tom Hanks, Emmitt Smith and others partied at the White House.
4. Hawaii Five-Oh No
Incident: The Obamas took a 17-day trip Hawaii at the end of last year, the family’s annual Christmas vacation.View Entire Story
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Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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