Mr. Obama has seemed tired here, several times fumbling the pronunciation of Mr. Medvedev’s name and Mr. Putin’s title. Beginning a speech here, he mistakenly said he first met his wife in school instead of at the law firm where they actually met. And he misstated his younger daughter’s age.Can you imagine the (neverending) scorn and the (neverending) ridicule (not least in the New York Times) had George W. Bush fumbled the pronunciation of a foreign leader's name and/or title or had Dubya (spasibo to Larwyn for the link) misstated the place where he first met his wife or either of his daughters' ages?! There would have been an uproar — and not only liberals would add "rightfully so."
With Barack Obama, what do we get? "Mr. Obama has seemed tired." No, not "he was (is) clueless", not "he was (is) unprepared", not even "he was tired" that day, no, "Mr. Obama has seemed tired."
In the meantime, I hate to say this, but Russians — even the young, starry-eyed ones (!) — have seemed more intelligent than Americans lately…
“We don’t really understand why Obama is such a star,” said Kirill Zagorodnov, 25, one of the graduates. “It’s a question of trust, how he behaves, how he positions himself, that typical charisma, which in Russia is often parodied. Russians really are not accustomed to it. It is like he is trying to manipulate the public.”As a matter of fact, in the photo below, Dmitri A. Medvedev seems precisely to react to Barack Obama's main tool of diplomacy, internal as well as external — which is (after apologizing for just about everything any of his 43 predecessors have ever done) to call everybody and everything anybody does (except for American conservatives, natch) "extraordinary" or "splendid" or "smashing".
In fact, making the photo below a caption contest might not be a bad idea, the one I have in mind being:
"Oh Lord, there that Yankee goes again, using once more that 'extraordinary' gavno! (Does he really think we Russkis haven't seen through that one yet?!)"Apart from that, the Apologizer-in-Chief still thinks that the presidency is about some kind of personal journey for him; he doesn't understand that going to Paris or to Moscow as President of the United States of America is not an excuse for going touristing alone with the family… And that foreign leaders, rightfully or otherwise, do not like it!
Update from Fausta: What we have here is a failure to communicate: Pres. Obama’s foreign host, be it Sarkozy, Dmitri Medvedev, or whoever the next dignitary may be, naively considers the office and duties of head of state to be the top priority during state visits. They simply don’t understand that the endless self-promotion and apology tours are mere background opportunities for Obama to showcase himself as above all such mundane concerns
Update from Timeswatch: Clay Waters points out that right after the "handy excuse for Obama's gaffe" (the president "seemed tired"), Peter Baker followed up "immediately [with] a counterexample designed to reassure readers that the president was still sharp as a tack" ("He was quick on his feet, however").