Now here's a little gaffe from Barack Obama that will energize the "I Am Woman"-humming folks in Hillaryland. Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times "Top of the Ticket" blog reports a TV journalist in Detroit pressing Obama for answers, Peggy Agar, was dismissed with the term "sweetie." (He also has video.)
Suddenly Obama was walking right toward her. "Senator," Agar addressed him, "how are you going to help the American auto worker?""Hold on one second, sweetie," the presidential candidate said, sticking out his right arm as if to ward her off. "We're gonna do a press avail."Sweetie? "This 'sweetie,'" Agar noted acidly in her broadcast report, "never did get an answer to that question."Later, the station said Obama had left an apology on the reporter's phone, admitting he had a problem calling women "sweetie" and saying he intended no disrespect.If there's no disrespect intended, why wouldn't he have used it during, say, one of his debates against Sen. Hillary Clinton? "Now, Sweetie, you're not describing my health care plan accurately." How would that go over?
As gaffes go, this seems mild. "Sweetie" is a very nice word, especially if used with a person you find to be sweet, like a wife or daughter or niece. (It beats "Hold on one second, you pushy broad." If Obama ever said that, Hillary would have a party.) But working women will easily find it patronizing, especially if they're being dismissed with it. I wouldn't be surprised if reporters who aren't floating behind Obama in adoration (like NBC's Lee Cowan) start making "Hold On Sweetie" jokes to each other when Obama won't talk to the press.