Schwarzenegger defends Obama on `Special Olympics gaffe

March 21st, 2009 - 1:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Arnold Schwarzenegger

California (US), Mar.21 (ANI): California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said President Barack Obama’’s gaffe on Special Olympics was a mistake that anyone could committ.
Schwarzenegger who met Obama on Friday about infrastructure funding, following a town hall meeting Thursday in California, dismissed the president’’s Special Olympics quip as a goof that could happen to anyone.
Obama had made the comment on NBC’’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Thursday, where he said he wasn”t happy with his bowling score of 129 and joked, “It was like the Special Olympics or something.” Defending Obama, Schwarzenegger was quoted by the Washington Times as saying: “I know because of conversations I had with the president about Special Olympics, as the international coach of Special Olympics, I know where his heart is at. He loves the Special Olympics. He will do everything he can to help Special Olympics.”
“Everyone 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 have many of those,” he added.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that Obama regretted making the comment. “I know that the president believes that the Special Olympics are a triumph of the human spirit. He understands that they deserve a lot better than the thoughtless joke that he made last night,” Gibb said. Shortly after taping “The Tonight Show,” and before it aired, Obama apologized to Tim Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics.
Shriver is Schwarzeneggers brother-in-law. The Shrivers” mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the Special Olympics.
For her part, Maria Shriver issued a statement saying though she was sure Obama meant no harm, laughing at such remarks “hurts millions of people throughout the world.”
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also took issue with the comment. “I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics,” she said in statement Friday.
“This was a degrading remark about our world’’s most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world,” she added. (ANI)

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