Andrew remarks on Obama’s “Polish death camp” error:
I have to say the explosive reaction to the terminology – despite the fact that Obama was honoring an anti-Nazi Pole – blindsided me. No doubt there will be a formal apology. But ginning this up into some kind of campaign attack seems silly to me. Which means Romney will probably try to exploit it.
Obama’s phrase was incredibly sloppy. It’s surprising that a politician from Chicago wouldn’t already know not to say something like this. After all, the Chicago metro area has the largest Polish population outside Poland. As provocative as the phrase was, it doesn’t say anything about U.S. policy in the region or U.S.-Polish relations in general. It was an unfortunate and entirely avoidable blunder on Obama’s part, and he’ll have to suffer some deserved embarrassment for it.
I suspect it will be shoehorned into the exceedingly dishonest Romney/GOP narrative that Obama has repeatedly betrayed and snubbed allies for the last three years. Unfortunately for Obama, this blunder is real and it actually did offend an allied government. Unlike the usual litany of insults and snubs that Republicans attribute to Obama, this one happened and it was taken as an insult, albeit an unintentional one. On the other hand, Obama has been falsely attacked over these supposed snubs and betrayals so many times that another attack may have no effect at all.
Second Update: Daniel Knowles’ reaction to this mini-controversy is worth reading:
The idea that Mr Obama should apologise to Donald Tusk is ludicrously over the top. This was a gaffe, at an event at the White House intended to honour a Polish resistance fighter. Even if common sense didn’t, the context would have made it clear what the President was referring to. If it wasn’t for Mr Sikorski, very few people would even have noticed.
And this constant policing of politicians’ every utterance by grievance-obsessed special interests is exactly what makes British politics so boring. I really hope that American politics won’t follow.