2009.03.20: March 20, 2009: Headlines: Obama: Disabilities: Special Olympics: NY Daily News: Obama apologizes to Tim Shriver for Special Olypmics remarks

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By Admin1 (admin) (141.157.6.22) on Sunday, March 22, 2009 - 10:34 am: Edit Post

Obama apologizes to Tim Shriver for Special Olypmics remarks

Obama apologizes to Tim Shriver for Special Olypmics remarks

"It's important to see that words hurt and words do matter," declared Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America." Shriver said the President's comments "can be seen as humiliating" and a "put down to people with special needs." "This kind of language needs to be a teachable moment, I think, for our country," Shriver said. "I would hope every parent who's at home this morning watching this show could turn to their children and say it's a chance for us to recognize that when we talk about Special Olympics, when we talk about people with special needs, let's make sure we talk about it in an affirming way."

Obama apologizes to Tim Shriver for Special Olypmics remarks

President Obama sorry for 'insensitive' Special Olympics dig on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno'

BY Michael Saul
DAILY NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

Updated Friday, March 20th 2009, 2:56 PM

President Obama has apologized for his foot-in-the-mouth quip about the Special Olympics, but the chairman of the organization said Friday he hopes the gaffe will be a teaching moment for the country.

"It's important to see that words hurt and words do matter," declared Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver during an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Shriver said the President's comments "can be seen as humiliating" and a "put down to people with special needs."

"This kind of language needs to be a teachable moment, I think, for our country," Shriver said. "I would hope every parent who's at home this morning watching this show could turn to their children and say it's a chance for us to recognize that when we talk about Special Olympics, when we talk about people with special needs, let's make sure we talk about it in an affirming way."

On Thursday, during his appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Obama chatted about his infamously dismal bowling skills. The commander in chief said he's been practicing at the White House bowling alley and recently scored 129.

"Oh, no, that's very good," Leno told Obama.

"It was like the Special Olympics or something," Obama joked, drawing laughter from the funnyman and his audience.

The quip immediately drew criticism on the Internet. And even before the pre-taped program aired, the White House issued an apology.

"The President made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics," Obama spokesman Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One after the taping.

Obama also called Shriver to apologize before the program aired. On ABC Friday morning, Shriver discussed the phone call.

"He expressed his disappointment and he apologized, I think, in a way that was very moving," Shriver said.

"He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate this population, certainly didn't want to embarrass or give anybody any more reason for pain."
Shriver said Obama told him he was interested in becoming more involved in the Special Olympics.

Obama "said he was a fan of the movement and, I think, importantly said he's ready to have some of our athletes over the White House to bowl, or play basketball or help him improve his score," Shriver explained.

In a statement issued Friday morning, Shriver called on the President to consider hiring a
Special Olympics athlete to work in the White House. "In so doing, he could help end misconceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Shriver said.

Obama's comment came just hours after he appeared with California First Lady Maria Shriver, whose mother founded the Special Olympics.

It's not the first time Obama's humor has gotten him in trouble. He apologized to former First Lady Nancy Reagan for making a crack about her consultations with an astrologer.

"I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any sťances," Obama said last year at a news conference.




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Headlines: March, 2009; Presidents - Obama; Disabilities; Special Olympics





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Story Source: NY Daily News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Obama; Disabilities; Special Olympics

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