The PJ Tatler

Did Obama Make a Dirty Joke or Not?

This little gem from the White House pool report on President Obama’s speech at a gay-rights fundraiser last night at the Beverly Wilshire:

He warmed up with some jokes about the first lady’s appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. “Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well,” he said, after saying that she’s taken some criticism on her technique “because she doesn’t go all the way down” – a line that he let hang, naughtily, provoking laughter from the crowd.

Here’s how the official White House transcript reads:

I want to thank my wonderful friend [DeGeneres] who accepts a little bit of teasing about Michelle beating her in pushups — (laughter) — but I think she claims Michelle didn’t go all the way down.  (Laughter.)  That’s what I heard.  I just want to set the record straight — Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well.  (Laughter.) So she shouldn’t feel bad.

Usually when the pool reporter makes a misquote, a correction follows to the White House press list. That didn’t come. The pool report is valuable for early quotes, conveying the mood in the room, and other tidbits not included in an official transcript.

Fundraiser attendees at the “Pretty Woman” hotel included DeGeneres, Cher, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Obama followed this up with a fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of Glee creator Ryan Murphy, attended by Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon, Banana Republic/Gap Inc. president Jack Calhoun, Glee actress Jane Lynch, and HBO executive Michael Lombardo.