epublicans are pouncing on President Obama's recent remark that America has been "a little bit lazy" in pursuing foreign investment over the last couple decades. "We've kind of taken for granted," the president said, that "people will want to come here, and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business to America." GOP presidential hopefuls sprang into action: Mitt Romney said the comment shows Obama is out of touch, while Rick Perry released an ad accusing the president of calling the whole country slothful. "Can you believe that?" Perry said. "That's what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are lazy?" Obama surrogate Bill Burton insisted that Republicans are twisting the president's meaning so badly that it's "laughable." Did Obama call Americans lazy or not?
Of course not: Claiming that Obama was calling Americans lazy is about as misleading and deceptive as anything we've seen in this pathetic GOP nomination fight, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. Obama essentially said that "we as a country, businesses and government, have been complacent in promoting investment in America abroad." There are plenty of reasons to oppose Obama, but deliberately making it appear that he said something he didn't is "stupid and sophomoric."
"Republicans say Obama called Americans 'lazy,' except he didn't"
Obama's meaning was clear enough: Obama's "lazy" comment was part of a pattern, says Greg Johnson in the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinal. Recently, he said America had gotten "a little bit soft." If Obama really believed in American industry, he would have said U.S. companies are "far from lazy," and pointed out that they had tripled overseas sales over the last couple of decades. Once again, his choice of words shows his "ill-concealed contempt for American businesses and American workers."
"Obama's 'lazy' comment insulting"
We can argue about what he thinks, but not what he said: "If you want to psychoanalyze the president — and who doesn't?" — you're free to argue that the mere use of the word "lazy" reveals contempt for Americans, says David Weigel at Slate. But if the issue is what Obama actually said, then Perry and other Republicans are taking the president's words "completely out of context." "The 'lazy' people in this reference are bureaucrats, not average Americans."
"No, President Obama didn't 'call Americans lazy'"
- How to make people like you: 6 science-based conversation hacks
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' 'white Santa' claim
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How the budget deal could pave the way for immigration reform
- How John Boehner learned to stop worrying and hate the Tea Party
- 10 things you need to know today: December 13, 2013
- The Black Death is back
- The lingering mystery of the 1964 World's Fair
- What one thing can determine whether or not you're successful in life?
- How Arrow became the best superhero show on television
Subscribe to the Week