AP's Russ Bynum Covers Up Obama's 'Gulf Ports' Gaffe

What's a little Justice Department spying between friends? Or, more accurately, between a master and his lapdogs?

In May, Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to obtaining phone records involving 20 business, residential, and personal lines used by over 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press during April and May 2012. After some lawyerly whining for appearances' sake, the wire service more appropriately known as the Administration's Press is back to its old tricks, and then some. On Wednesday, as will be seen after the jump, reporter Russ Bynum disgracefully covered up a geographic gaffe by President Obama during his Tuesday appearance on Jay Leno's show.


Here, from a transcript posted at the Politico, is what Obama actually said about the need to deepen certain coastal ports (related YouTube snip is here; bolds are mine throughout this post):

Q. You mentioned infrastructure. Why is that a partisan issue? I live in a town, the bridge is falling apart, it’s not safe. How does that become Republican or Democrat? How do you not just fix the bridge? (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know. As you know, for the last three years, I’ve said, let’s work together. Let’s find a financing mechanism and let’s go ahead and fix our bridges, fix our roads, sewer systems, our ports. The Panama is being widened so that these big supertankers can come in. Now, that will be finished in 2015. If we don't deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don't do that, those ships are going to go someplace else. And we’ll lose jobs. Businesses won’t locate here.

The only conceivable way to interpret what Obama actually said is that the ports of Charleston, Savannah, and Jacksonville are "along the Gulf" of Mexico. Of course, these ports are really on the Atlantic Ocean.

Bynum's AP story, as carried at the Charlotte Observer and WSAV in Savannah (but oddly not present at the AP's national site), covered up the gaffe by putting words Obama didn't say into his mouth (HTs to Twitchy.com and Twitchy founder Michelle Malkin):

Obama plugs deeper Ga., SC, Fla. harbors on Leno

During a late-night TV interview with Jay Leno, President Barack Obama slipped in a plug for three seaports in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina that are seeking federal funds to make room for larger cargo ships.

Obama used his Tuesday night appearance on NBC's "Tonight Show" to push for bipartisan cooperation in funding infrastructure improvements such as widening roads and repairing bridges. The president told Leno that U.S. ports on the East and Gulf coasts need deeper harbors to stay competitive as the Panama Canal finishes a major expansion in 2015 that will give supersized cargo ships a shortcut between the U.S. and Asia.

"If we don't deepen our ports all along the Gulf — (and in) places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla. — if we don't do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we'll lose jobs," Obama said.

So what was clearly a gaffe no longer appears to be a gaffe.

Malkin's reax: "The parenthetical Obama Gulf gaffe rescue would be akin to putting an "(s)" after "potatoe" to cover for Dan Quayle." Exactly.

Bynum describes himself at his Twitter account as "nobody's fool." I beg to differ.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.