Sad misunderstanding: Obama heard mocking NBC’s Chuck Todd as ‘sad,’ only that’s not quite how it was

Don’t believe everything you hear.

A misunderstood fragment of a conversation between President Obama and his daughter Mahlia turned into an inside-the-Beltway scandal over the weekend as political websites (including BizPac Review) picked up what appears to be an erroneous story about the president making fun of “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

In the original version reported by the New York Post, Obama and Mahlia shared a laugh at Todd’s expense, with Mahlia asking how Todd was writing a book already and Obama responding “he’s so sad.”

On a video now making the rounds, the impression is considerably different. Obama is in the bookstore with Sasha and Mahlia when he notices Todd’s book, “The Stranger.”

On the cover is a photo of Obama looking like a stranger indeed, walking with his head down.


“He’s so sad,” Obama jokes, clearly talking about the image of the man on the cover, but giving rise to a host of headlines indicating the president was mocking a well known media figure.

But misunderstanding or no misunderstanding, Todd’s definitely sad in the ratings, coming in regularly in third place for the networks’ Sunday morning talk shows. And that’s even after Obama gave Todd an exclusive interview to kick off his debut on the program.

Of course, at the very same time Todd had just finished a book that, according to the Post, slammed the president “as a flip-flopping policymaker whose detached temperament has prevented him from implementing his ideas.”

Funny how that didn’t come up during Todd’s hushed, genuflecting interview with the president that was broadcast on Sept. 7.

Not funny at all, actually. Strange, really. And sad.

The Obamas purchased 17 books in total after jokingly haggling over prices. The selection included the “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, “Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson and “The Laughing Monsters” by Denis Johnson, according to the New York Post.



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