During his first six months in office, President Barack Obama rammed through as much liberal legislation as possible in anticipation of November elections that could alter the face of Congress and remove the 60-vote Senate super-majority that he and the Democrats enjoyed. Along the way, he managed to stick his foot in his mouth, waste untold billions of dollars and embarrass both himself and his country in front of our foreign enemies and friends. Here's a list of President Barack Obama's top gaffes from Jan. 20 to July 20, 2009.
10. Misspells "Advice" in Letter to Fan
Chicago Sun Times
April 21, 2009:
After receiving a heart-felt letter from Michael Powers, who criticized the president for his smoking habit, Obama hand-writes a response
, "Michael -- Thanks so much for the wonderful letter, and the good advise ... "
Saul Loeb/Getty Images
April 22, 2009:
Obama flies to and from Iowa, making two trips on Air Force One and four trips on Marine One
, burning at least
9,000 gallons of fuel on the 895-mile cross-country excursion. The president makes the trip so he can plant a single tree and deliver a speech on the importance of using alternative energy.
Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
March 19, 2009
: During a taping of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Obama jokes
about his miserable bowling skills, which were on display during his campaign battle with Hillary Clinton when he attempted to win voters in the Midwest by showcasing his skills at a blue-collar bowling alley and famously throwing gutter-ball after gutter-ball. Obama tells Leno he has been working on his form by practicing in the White House's basement bowling alley. Unfortunately, all he says all he can muster is a paltry 129.
"It's like -- it was like Special Olympics or something," Obama says.
7. References Non-Existent "Austrian" Language
Torsten Silz/Getty Images
April 4, 2009:
In response to a question asking what he learned from European leaders, Obama responds
, "It was ... interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian -- wheeling and dealing ... "
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
March 6, 2009:
During a visit to Washington, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown presents Obama with a pen holder crafted from the timbers of the 19th century British warship HMS President, a thoughtful gift, considering the desk in the Oval Office was crafted from wood from the warship's sister ship, HMS Resolute. Obama's gift to Brown
? Twenty-five incorrectly formatted (and rather inexpensive) DVDs of American movies. April 1, 2009:
During a visit to Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth presents Obama with a silver framed photo of her and Prince Andrew. Obama gives the queen
-- an iPod featuring 40 Broadway show tunes and footage of her infamous visit to the US in 2007.
The queen is said to already own an iPod.
Saif Dahlah/Getty Images
June 4, 2009:
Speaking at Cairo University, Obama delivers a speech that threatens to destabilize US relations with Israel, fan the flames of dissent with Iran and alienate fellow country-men, to whom he vowed to win over after the November 2008 election. The president apologizes for American transgressions around the world, yet fails to ask Muslim states to hold their "extremists" accountable for their
global terrorist actions. Obama mentions 9/11, but only to explain the American responses it provoked. Finally, the president emphasizes how America has acted "contrary to our ideals" in the past, refusing to acknowledge the steep level of American generosity and its long history of fighting for freedom
around the world.
Scott J. Ferrell/Getty Images
January to February, 2009:
Over a three-week period, Obama selects no fewer than five
cabinet selections who are each revealed
to have legal problems. Obama gets lucky with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but is not so lucky with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, whose late payments to the IRS raise questions and threaten to derail his confirmation. Meanwhile, the president's other nominees -- all Democrats -- proceed to fall like dominoes. Gov. Bill Richardson withdraws as commerce secretary nominee in the wake of a legal inquiry. Former Sen. Tom Daschle (Health and Human Services), Rep. Hilda Solis (Labor) and Nancy Killefer (Budget and Spending reform) all withdraw because of tax problems.
May 30, 2009:
Obama and the secret service arrange "a date night" in New York City, which includes dinner at a posh Manhattan restaurant and a Broadway show. The president comes under fire as the cost of the date is estimated to be anywhere from $23,000 to $40,000. The day of the date, Private first-class Samuel D. Stone dies in a vehicle accident in Iraq. The day before the date, privates Bradley W. Iorio and Thomas E. Lee also die in Iraq. Iorio's death is classified as "non-hostile." Lee's death is listed officially from "wounds suffered when an explosive device struck his vehicle." Four days before the date, as the secret service maps out the trip to New York City, two US airmen and one US soldier die in Afghanistan.
2. Bows Deeply to Saudi King Abdullah
John Stillwell/Getty Images
April 2, 2009:
In what might be the worst possible moment of his young administration, Obama clearly bows
before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. When queried about the bow later that day in Strasbourg, France, Obama says, "We have to change our behavior in showing the Muslim world greater respect." A week later, after apparently being alerted that the only people who bow before the king are his subjects -- not his peers -- the administration's official line on the bow changes, and White House spokespeople say the president was merely stooping to shake hands with the much-shorter king. This lame excuse irks even the most biased members of the fawning press, who can clearly see the deep bow the president makes in subsequent video clips.
1. TelePrompter Overuse Results in Bumbled Oratories
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Jan. 20 to July 20, 2009:
Whether it's brief introductory remarks or drawn-out policy speeches, Obama doesn't go anywhere
without his TelePrompter. On several occasions, his reliance on it results in some embarrassing moments, such as April 27, 2009, when, speaking to scientists at the National Academy of Sciences, Obama's TelePrompter soars ahead of him and loses the president altogether. To regain his place, he is forced to completely stop his speech
until it's rolled back. On July 13, 2009 his TelePrompter completely falls apart
and shatters on the floor as he delivers a speech on the economy at the White House. His continued use of the device prompts some in the media to dub him the "TelePrompter-In-Chief." Off-camera, of course!