Sunday 19 November 2017

Jon Swaine: Barack Obama didn’t call Americans lazy, but even thinking it is bad politics

BARACK Obama has come under-mild strafing over the past few days because of a comment he made at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC) summit in Hawaii last week. Discussing the need to attract investment to the US, he said: "We’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades". It looks as though the comment could shortly become a bigger problem for the president.

With the headline unemployment rate stuck at nine per cent, and the poverty at its highest rate since 1983, this was a fantastic opportunity for Obama's usual critics, and they did not disappoint. Donald Trump called the remarks "disgusting", telling Fox News – where they were replayed repeatedly – that Mr Obama “never made a deal in his life”. Rush Limbaugh added: “Once again, the president of the United States insults the people who make this country work”.

If by now you're wondering whether President Obama's comments were taken out of context, however, your answer is yes. Here is the transcript of the relevant section, from from White House, which came after a discussion about US-Chinese trade relations.

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