Politics

The D'oh!-Bama Administration
The Obama administration's low- and mid-level staffers have made their share of goofs during their first year in office. Of course, some didn't make it the whole year as a result of those goofs. With "gatecrasher-gate" making headlines this past week, here's a look at the more memorable flubs and faux pas of the Obama administration (not counting Joe Biden). 

Gatecrasher-Gate

Michaele and Tareq Salahi, shown here, set off a firestorm last week after they allegedly crashed the White House state dinner held for the Indian prime minister. 

In this mishap, there may be blame to go around. Shortly after the dinner, the Secret Service took full responsibility for the breach, with Director Mark Sullivan saying his agency is "deeply concerned and embarrassed," and that while the Salahis went through several levels of screening they ultimately should not have been let in. "That failing is ours," he said. 

The White House stood by the Secret Service and said it enjoys the president's full confidence. 

But the plot thickened. The couple apparently communicated earlier with Michele Jones, special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Jones put out a statement saying she told the Salahis they did not have tickets and that she could not get them in -- but then The Associated Press reported that the Salahis sent an e-mail to Jones saying a dead cell phone battery prevented them from hearing the voicemail informing them they did not have an invite. They went without one in case they got approved en route, according to the account, and wrote back to say they appreciated her intervention as all went smoothly. 

Desiree Rogers, Obama's social secretary, has also come under scrutiny for reportedly downgrading the duties of the person who used to be responsible for supervising such guest lists earlier in the year. The White House has brushed off questions about lapses on their end. 

There are still plenty of questions about the affair. Sullivan was the only one testifying at a House committee hearing Thursday. The Salahis and Rogers refused to show up.

(White House)

Worst photo op of the year -- Air Force One's flight over the Statue of Liberty

Just a few months after President Obama took office, the White House approved an Air Force One photo shoot that sent New Yorkers fleeing in terror and made city officials furious. 

The White House Military Office authorized the flyover, shown here, for April 27 so they could have an updated set of photos of Air Force One. But as the 747 flew over the city trailed by two F-16s, and those who were not informed ahead of time -- that is, almost everybody in Manhattan -- saw a scene that looked similar to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. 

Thousands of New Yorkers evacuated office buildings and emergency call centers were inundated. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among those who apparently had not been notified.
Obama quickly called the flyover a "mistake." In the end, the director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, resigned. 

In his May resignation letter, the former Army secretary said the controversy surrounding the photo shoot "has made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office." 

A review indicated that Caldera did not notify the appropriate people within the White House, including deputy White House Chief of Staff Jim Messina or White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about the flyover.

(AP)

Russian Relations 'Reset'

One of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first diplomatic gestures ran into the language barrier. 

During a March meeting in Geneva with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, she presented a gift-wrapped red button that said "Reset" in English and "Peregruzka" in Russian. The problem was, "peregruzka" doesn't mean reset. It means overcharged, or overloaded. 

"You got it wrong," Lavrov said. 

Despite the awkwardness, the two diplomats laughed it off. 

It's unclear who's to blame for the mix-up. The Foreign Policy magazine Web site reported that State Department sources were suggesting a communications staffer for Clinton messed up. 

Either way, it appears that no heads rolled over the gaffe.

(AP)

Vetting Woes

The Obama administration started off on rocky footing as a string of nominees to mid- and high-level positions came under fire and in some cases were forced to withdraw, speaking to serious problems in the political appointee vetting process. 

The most high-profile was likely the nomination of former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle for health secretary. He withdrew his name after facing questions about why he failed to pay more than $130,000 in taxes. 

But there were problems elsewhere. Nancy Killefer withdrew her candidacy for chief performance officer following concerns that she did not pay employment taxes for household workers. Tim Geithner was ultimately confirmed as treasury secretary, but also faced criticism over failure to pay more than $40,000 in taxes and interest. 

With the commerce secretary position, it took three times to get that right. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Obama's first choice, withdrew in early January following the disclosure that a grand jury was investigating allegations of wrongdoing regarding contracts in his state. He was ultimately cleared. Then, Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican, took himself out of the running citing policy differences with Obama. 

Obama personally took responsibility for the Daschle nomination's failure, saying he made a "mistake" in handling it. But some pointed fingers at White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel maintains his secure spot in the White House.

(AP)

Teleprompter Troubles

Whoever's in charge of Obama's teleprompter either has it in for the president or just needs a refresher course. 

The president's not-so-secret rhetorical weapon has suffered a string of mishaps since Inauguration Day. 

First in March, Obama and Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen were thrown into confusion by the speeches on the teleprompter. Cowen ended up delivering part of a speech that Obama had just given. And then Obama, apparently reading his Irish counterpart's remarks, thanked himself for holding the event. 

Later in July, one of Obama's screens came loose, crashed to the floor and shattered in the middle of a speech about the stimulus package. 

"Sorry about that, guys," Obama said. 

Earlier, Vice President Biden had the same problem when a gust of wind blew over one of his screens in Colorado Springs. 

"What am I gonna tell the president when I tell him his teleprompter is broken?" Biden joked.

(AP)

The D'oh!-Bama Administration

The Obama administration's low- and mid-level staffers have made their share of goofs during their first year in office. Of course, some didn't make it the whole year as a result of those goofs. With "gatecrasher-gate" making headlines this past week, here's a look at the more memorable flubs and faux pas of the Obama administration (not counting Joe Biden). 

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