UPDATE AT END OF POST: Might the President have said "freaking?"
Barack Obama said the F-word at the White House Correspondents' Dinner Saturday evening, and the video of his obscenity was posted at YouTube and WhiteHouse.gov.
As he began his comic remarks, the President said:
I wasn't sure that I should actually come tonight. [Vice President Joe] Biden talked me into it. He leaned over and he said, "Mr. President, this is no ordinary dinner. This is a big (whispering) f--king meal."
As you can hear in the video, a bleep has been added, but the whispered F-word is still audible (video follows with commentary, joke in first 60 seconds):
As readers, viewers, and those in attendance were aware, this was a joke mocking Biden's F-bomb at the signing of the recently enacted healthcare reform bill when he whispered in the President's ear, "This is a big f--king deal."
However, was it appropriate of the President to use that word in public, at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, on live television?
And if the White House was going to post this at YouTube and its website, shouldn't someone have done a better job of making sure the bleep actually covered the obscenity?
This seems especially important as it appeared the networks that aired the dinner properly bleeped his F-word. I was watching C-SPAN and thought the bleep covered it up. I've been informed that CNN and MSNBC also bleeped appropriately, although Fox News's censors may have been a tad early.
This suggests these networks were alerted to the joke, and were on the ready to bleep when necessary.
But did the President have to say "f--king" for the joke to work?
Wouldn't "f-ing," "freaking," or "frigging" have been more appropriate for the most powerful man in the world in a public setting with cameras rolling?
*****Update: Well, after a tip from a reader, I've now listened to this video a zillion times (AGAIN) with headphones and audio amplification. I've also reviewed the video available at C-SPAN. After conferring with others at NB, it seems possible the President whispered "freaking" and NOT "f--king."
Did the bleep actually come from the stage and not the networks, and that was all part of the joke?
If so, the joke's on me, and I sincerely apologize to the President for misinterpreting his words.
I therefore advise readers to listen closely to the video and decide for themselves.