Obama confuses Jews for janitors

UNITED STATES, West Hollywood : US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign fundraiser stop at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California September 26, 2011. (AFP Photo / Robyn Beck)
Speaking to supporters over the weekend, President Barack Obama made a slight slip-up that went unnoticed at the time. Now, however, critics are attacking a gaffe in which he accidently confused a colossal ethnic group with sanitation workers.

In a speech before the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday, President Obama stumbled over his words while rehashing the Buffet Rule that he has made a focal point of his crusade to insure even tax rates among Americans. Speaking at the fundraiser over the weekend, Obama said, "If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew-- as a janitor, makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that. It's about time."

The Buffet Rule that set Obama up for the slip is part of his proposed American Jobs Act that would make sure millionaires and billionaires would pay higher tax rates than middle-class Americans.

Obama didn’t immediately offer up an apology, but the slip-up seems to be nothing more than a silly mistake. Some commentators have been quick to call out the president for the goof, however.

Responding on Monday from his radio show, conservative host Rush Limbaugh added to his lengthy list of attacks on Obama by calling into question the “whoops” moment from the weekend. "So he was confusing Jew with janitor, and he admits that. Just think how outraged the Reverends Wright and Farrakhan would be if they heard Obama say that Jews were paying too much in taxes like he thinks the janitors probably are,” asked Limbaugh.

The night after speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus in DC, Obama flew to the West Coast to speak at the home of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, the Jewish chief operating officer of the social media site. At her home in Atherton, California, around 70 guests paid upwards of $35,000 to share a meal with the president, who spoke for only around eight minutes. The mainstream media has largely neglected to touch on Obama’s talking points at either of the weekend’s fundraisers, though the appearance of pop singer Lady Gaga at Sunday night’s event has dominated headlines in the days since.

One thing the mainstream hasn’t ignored, however, is Obama’s allegedly racist delivery in front of the Black Caucus. In the wake of his address, commentators have attacked the Associated Press for accurately transcribing Obama’s speech with the “dropped g’s” that other outlet omitted.

The AP’s transcription of Saturday’s speech reads in part, "Shake it off. Stop complainin'. Stop grumblin'. Stop cryin'. We are going to press on. We have work to do."

African American author Karen Hunter told MSNBC that the transcription was inherently racist. The writer for the AP has defended his job, however, saying, "in this case, the President appeared to be making such a point of dropping Gs, and doing so in a rhythmic fashion, that for me to insert them would run clearly counter to his meaning. I believe I was respecting his intent in this. Certainly disrespect was the last thing I intended."