Now, here's what he actually said:
Precipice: (n) 1.a very steep or overhanging place; 2. a hazardous situation; broadly : brink.
Gaffe: (n) The act of accidental truth-telling by a politician
Hello, everybody. We just had a very productive session about the final stages of healthcare reform in the Senate. And from the discussions we had it's clear that we are on the precipice of an achievement that's eluded congresses and presidents for generations — an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American.
Hot Air's take:
I think Obama meant that "we are on the crumbling rockface of American credit," or perhaps "we are on the collapsing ledge of individual liberty." Hey, either one works.
Not to be outdone, Mary Katharine Ham offers this:
Personally, I'd vote for this just being another insidious attempt by TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) to humiliate The One. You can't trust a blank screen any farther than you can throw it.
It was with an odd statement that Obama announced the progress he had made in meetings with Senate Democrats today on the health-care bill he's desperate to pass by Christmas, no matter what's in it.
"We are on the precipice of an achievement that has eluded Congresses and presidents for generations," Obama told reporters after meeting with Senate Democrats for about an hour at the White House complex.
If you're thinking to yourself that the word "precipice" has negative connotations, and you're wondering why the great orator would use it to illustrate his grand victory, you have reason to wonder. Here are the two definitions of the word, both quite unnerving when applied to the health-care debate:
1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
2. a situation of great peril:
If Bush had done it, the clip would have been on loop as Freudian proof of Bush's dislike of Americans and his intention to get rid of them via risky health-care overhaul, but when the greatest orator of our time stumbles over his words, nary a newscaster will mention it.
But maybe I'm underestimating Obama. Perhaps his intent was to delve into our collective cultural memory to evoke famous, inspiring cliff imagery from American cinema as a metaphor for his great generational health-care triumph.
You know, like, this one:
Hm, maybe that's not the one he was going for. What about something more recent?
Well, that's just depressing. One more try:
Well, in that last one, they do at least get out alive, so maybe the President is trying out a new pitch. "Obamacare: You could get off this frightening, sheer cliff face alive, but you will hang in terror for a while unsure about your fate." Come to think of it, that is rather apt. Touché, Mr. President. Touché. Welcome to the precipice.
No, seriously, you can't.
There's my two cents.