Obama's Gaffes in Moscow Almost Ignored

The Times appeared a little taken aback at the muted reception Obama got in Russia during his two-day visit compared to the "outpouring on some of his other foreign trips," as noted in a Wednesday story by Clifford Levy and Ellen Barry over the headline: "For Jaded Russians, Obama's Star Power Does Not Translate."

Peter Baker's Wednesday story, "Family Night For Obamas Miffs Some In Moscow," noted that Obama's decision to hit the town in Moscow "miffed some in the Moscow government" but skimmed overa more interestinganti-Obama factoid: Obama made multiple verbal gaffes while in Moscow, including misremembering his daughter's age and where he met his wife.

Yet Baker included a handy excuse for Obama's gaffe (the president "seemed tired") followed immediately by a counterexample designed to reassure readers that the president was still sharp as a tack:

Mr. Obama has seemed tired here, several times fumbling the pronunciation of Mr. Medvedev's name and Mr. Putin's title. Beginning a speech here, he mistakenly said he first met his wife in school instead of at the law firm where they actually met. And he misstated his younger daughter's age.

He was quick on his feet, however, while addressing graduates of the New Economic School. In praising Russian culture, Mr. Obama cited painters, composers, dancers - and a hockey player, The Associated Press reported.

Is there any question that a similar series of gaffes by President Bush would have garnered more attention from the Times than the seventh paragraph of a Page 10 story? The Times was certainly not retiring when it came to publicizing Bush's malapropisms.