Obama/Kanye “Jackass” Audio Leaks, Proving Our President Is…An Entirely Reasonable Man


It’s no surprise that the inevitably leaked (and even more predictably TMZ-obtained) audio of President Obama calling Kanye West a “jackass”–off the record, to CNBC, which didn’t keep ABC’s Terry Moran from hearing about it and tweeting it, then deleting it and apologizing, much much too late–proves that it was in fact Obama who was the adult (as usual) in a room full of otherwise tittering children. From the way the quote ricocheted around the internet today, you might’ve thought our president gave an entire speech on the issue, or at least foamed at the mouth a bit when it was brought up, but, as it turns out, the actual response was really…normal. After a reporter Trojan-horsed the question via an inquiry of what Obama’s daughters thought about the whole debacle, our president responded, sounding like every suburban dad ever, basically:

    “I thought that was really inappropriate! You know? It’s like, she’s getting an award–what are you butting in? I hear you. I agree with you. The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She’s getting her award. What’s he doing up there?

And–this a moment every reporter will recognize–as the laughter crests in the room, and Obama’s sort of basking in it, somebody goes for the follow-up–Why would he do that?–and bang, your quote: “He’s a jackass.” Followed by an immediate plea to the assembled press not to make this into another “fly thing,” which it promptly did anyway. If this 60-second exchange provides insight into anything, it’s that this is exactly how Kanye fighting with a 19-year-old pop star over a made-up award became the meme that ate the universe–because people would rather talk about this story two days later over pretty much anything else, as manufactured and minor as it was then and is now and will be tomorrow. As the man said: “Cut the president some slack. I’ve got a lot of other stuff on my plate.”