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Barack Obama’s Political Flubs & Blunders: Are They Any Different Than George W. Bush’s?
November 21, 2012
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Not sure if you've been following Barack Obama's latest overseas trip this week, which has included a stop in Burma.

With that visit, Obama became the first sitting American president to go there. He spent several hours there, meeting with fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

He met with Suu Kyi at the same home where she spent years under house arrest for her pro-democracy activism.

Burma was politically and economically isolated from the rest of the world for decades until it ended military rule last year.

Obama said his visit represented a fresh start between the two countries and he praised Suu Kyi's resilience.

"Here, through so many difficult years, is where she has displayed such unbreakable courage and determination," Obama told reporters, standing next to Suu Kyi.

"It is here where she showed that human freedom and human dignity cannot be denied."

All good stuff.

But political commentator Nile Gardiner picked up on a few blunders Obama made, in a column he wrote for The Telegraph.

For example, Obama mis-pronounced Aung San Suu Kyi's name several times - calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi.

Have a listen.

For the record, her name is pronounced Ahng Sahn Soo Chee.

Now, a lot of people might say he just made a mistake.

But as Gardiner points out, if President George W. Bush made the same mistake "it would have been plastered on the front page of The New York Times."

Maybe a bit of an overstatement. But interesting point.

Bush became something of a laughing stock for all his flubs and gaffes and occasional butchery of common expressions.

As well, Obama met with Burma's new reform-minded President Thein Sein - a name he also messed up according to the Associated Press.

As they spoke to the media, Obama made reference to "President Sein," which AP says is "an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe."

Apparently, he is President Thein Sein - on first and second reference.

Gardiner also points other foreign policy gaffes Obama has made.

In this video, he condemns the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran last year - except he referred to it as the "English embassy."

Gardiner writes, "In case the president is unaware, England forms part of Great Britain, which also includes Scotland and Wales, though not Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. There is no such thing as an "English" embassy anywhere in the world, and there hasn't been one for several centuries."

He also notes that last year Obama referred to France as America's strongest ally - perhaps insulting Britain (and dare we say Canada).

And there was this time when Obama said that he had visited 57 states (of course, there's only 50).

Innocent mistakes? Probably.

But it does make you think - if Dubya had done the same thing (and he did), a lot of people would be laughing or angry or both.

Of course, that's probably because Bush provided so much material - a lot more than Obama, that's for sure.

It's not every President that has an entire book devoted purely to his screw-ups and blunders.

Case in point - George W. Bushisms: The Slate Book of Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Our 43rd President.'

So, while Gardiner makes an interesting case, we think it's fair to say Obama has a long way to go before he's in Dubya territory.

Have a look - just for old time's sake.

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