*We all knew this would happen.
Predictably, the right-wing blog Drudge Report infused race into a headline about President Barack Obama’s use of a form of the phrase “kick ass” during an interview that aired this morning on “The Today Show,” stating “Obama Goes Street: Seeking ‘Ass to Kick.’ “
A preview clip of the interview, which began airing Monday night on NBC, featured Obama using a form of the phrase in reference to holding folks accountable for the BP oil spill. His use of the expression comes as he is being criticized by some pundits for not showing enough anger. After the promo clip began airing last night, some in the political blogosphere began accusing the president of trying to act tough just to assuage his critics.
Well this morning, when the interview was aired in its proper context, it turns out that “Today” host Matt Lauer was first to use the term “kick butt” while phrasing his question. The president actually chuckled at the notion, and in defending his stance (that anger theatrics won’t stop the oil from gushing) Obama merely used Lauer’s expression to make his point.
The exchange went exactly like this:
Lauer: Critics are saying here’s a guy who likes to be cool, calm and collected – and this isn’t the time for cool, calm and collected – that this is not the time to meet with experts and advisors. This is the time to spend more time in the Gulf, and – I never thought I’d say this to a president – but kick some butt. And I don’t mean it to be funny.
Obama: No, I understand. I’m gonna push back hard on this because I think that this is an idea that got in folks’ heads and the media’s run with it. I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick. Right? So, you know, this is not theater.
Watch entire interview in context below.