Ed Driscoll

Obama's Bush #41 Scanner Moment

“If he were a Republican, this would be his ‘Bush (41) meets a grocery scanner moment.’ But he’s not, so it is quietly buried.”

— A commenter at Ann Althouse’s blog responding to Obama’s punitive tone yesterday in the latter half of the above video, when confronted with questions over his Carteresque gas policy, found via Glenn Reynolds. Yes, I know (as does Snopes) that the first President Bush wasn’t surprised by a supermarket scanner — as the former head of the CIA, and a man who these days routinely skydives in his 80s, one would assume he’s well acquainted with technology.


Or as liberal blogger Brendan Nyhan noted in 2008:

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, James Rainey revives a longstanding myth that will frequently crop up again in stories about “gaffes” and supposedly out-of-touch politicians:

In 1992, George H.W. Bush reportedly was surprised to find a price scanner in a grocery store, which “proved” he was out of touch with the common man.

In fact, however, the New York Times report on which this claim is based is groundless. The Times had not been at the event in question but instead based its story on a pool report, which indicated that Bush was impressed by new scanner technology that could weigh groceries and read damaged bar codes. Unfortunately, the Times report (which the newspaper did not retract) fit a popular stereotype about Bush and has thus persisted for years.

But yesterday, President Obama, as he is wont to do when improvising away from the prepared teleprompter text, dropped the mask, and as the AP wrote in their first draft of their report, later airbrushed, though not before it ran on numerous news Websites:

Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle. “If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,” Obama said laughingly. “You might want to think about a trade-in.”

Unless he’s a diabetic, it’s a bad day for him anytime the words “the president needled” appears in any sentence involving a voter. The video of that incident is on YouTube, which is undergoing one of their periodic hiccups where the on-screen counter gets far behind the actual number of views; a video linked to by Instapundit, the Tatler, Hot Air, and Michelle Malkin’s Website with six pages of comments on its homepage at YouTube would have much more clicks than the 794 YouTube was displaying at midday. But at the Tatler, Bryan Preston has a nifty suggestion to drive its viewership much higher:


Note to the RNC: Download this video and mash it up with the Obama “under my plan energy prices will necessarily skyrocket” clip. Together they prove that this president cares much more about social engineering than about the economy or how his own policies are hurting Americans every single day. This video is President Obama’s Marie Antoinette moment: He tells a man who complains about high gas prices to buy a new car. Think about that for a second. The man is worried that gas prices are eating him alive. Obama’s response is to needle him to spend more money. That’s the response of an elitist jerk, not a leader who understands or even cares about the damage his policies are doing to the country. If that’s not indicative of this president’s arrogant and out-of-touch mindset, I don’t know what is. Hat tip to InstaPundit, who also has a screen shot of the AP story about this remarks, a story that AP eventually scrubbed to remove the remarks. So there’s a story about media bias in the mix as well.

In 2008, the media were happy to let Obama walk on water, to borrow a line from then-Newsweek editor Jon Meacham. But back then, all of anger from Obama, the MSM and the left could be channeled into a single direction: BUSH SUX.

In 2012, Obama will have to defend his own record as president — a challenge made all the more difficult by having to live up to the canonization the media performed on him before he took office. Can he win? Sure. But it’s going to be a much uglier process no matter what happens. And as with yesterday, we’re going to see many more examples highlighting that his bitter clingers rhetoric in 2008 was no accident — he really is that contemptuous of the people he’s deigned to govern.


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