Obama's "Special Olympics" Comment: Offensive?

special olympics

Last week,  on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" President Barack Obama joked about his questionable bowling skills by saying: "It was like Special Olympics or something."


I bet as soon as the words slipped out of his mouth, he wished that he hadn't said them. Not only were the remarks highly offensive to some, but his good friend and California First Lady Maria Shriver's own mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver is the founder of the organization. "The president made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics," said White House spokesman Bill Burton.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Shriver said she was confident Obama did not intend to offend anyone. But in a statement said that the episode indicated "the need to continue to educate the non-disabled community on the issues that confront those with a developmental disability."

Uh, yeah. The Special Olympics has already been trying hard to do this with kids. Special Olympics Youth Summits pair up students with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 12 to 17, and gather them as delegates to discuss ways to reverse negative stereotypes and attitudes about intellectual disability.

Gov. Schwarzenegger weighed in with support of the president. From the Bee: "I know where his heart is at," Schwarzenegger told reporters at the White House after meeting with Obama to discuss roads and bridges. "He loves Special Olympics, and he will do everything he can to help Special Olympics. And every one of us sometimes makes a mistake. Something comes out of your mouth and you say, `Oops, I wish I wouldn't have said that.' I've had many of those."

What do you think about Obama's "Special Olympic" comment? Innocent or offensive?

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