Right-wing bloggers to Obama: Leave Jessica Simpson alone!

Did President Obama really attack the singer over her apparent weight gain?

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 2, 2009 10:20PM (EST)

Thank God for conservative bloggers. Without them, who would stand up when women are under attack?

The latest feminist crusade from the right side of the blogosphere was provoked by this section of a transcript NBC released of President Obama's pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer:

LAUER: Yeah, well -- let -- let me show you. This is the -- the current issue of -- of Us Weekly.

OBAMA: Right.

LAUER: And here’s a great picture --

OBAMA: Oh, it’s beautiful.

LAUER: -- of -- of you and -- and Michelle and -- and your daughters. Now, the -- the reason I bring this up I think is funny. It’s a great picture.

OBAMA: Yeah.

LAUER: But I wanna show you the cover. Look what they did. They -- they took you off the cover.

OBAMA: Yeah.

LAUER: They took you out of it.

OBAMA: It -- it’s -- it’s a little hurtful.

LAUER: You got replaced by Jessica Simpson.

OBAMA: Yeah, who’s losing a weight battle apparently. (LAUGHTER) Yeah. Oh, well.

This provoked outrage from, among others, Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit, Dan Riehl, Sister Toldjah and Warner Todd Huston of Newsbusters, who wrote, "Lastly, let us imagine the hue and cry that would have been raised if George W. Bush had on national TV slammed a singer for being fat? Would the moonbats of the left have ignored that? Wouldn't the rest of the media have gone nuts reporting the story if it should have been Bush instead of Obama that called someone like Jessica Simpson fat?"

Then the truth came out: The transcript was wrong. Obama hadn't said Simpson was losing a weight battle; he'd said she was in one. And it just so happens that the current cover of US Weekly, the one Lauer showed the president, has a headline that says, "Inside Jess' weight battle."

Yes, folks, Obama was simply reading the headline aloud. Some bloggers, like Huston and Sister Toldjah (who, ironically, had already suggested that MSNBC would alter the transcript in Obama's favor), did note the transcription error. But even they didn't let that stop them from declaring Obama guilty anyway. "I apologize for not catching MSNBC's mistake. It does not alter my point, however, that Obama was commenting on Simpson's weight. Saying someone is 'in a weight battle' is not very much different than saying they are fat," Huston wrote.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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