TMZ.com has acquired audio of President Obama calling Kanye West a “jackass” before an interview with CNBC. Though the exchange was off the record, it was reported via Twitter by ABC News, which later apologized. It’s actually a fun listen, in part because as soon as Obama utters the word “jackass,” he knows he has opened himself up, and begins asking those around him not to report it. All in good fun. My transcript of the exchange follows:
QUESTION: Were your girls as hacked off as mine were that Kanye gave Taylor Swift the Joe Wilson treatment?
OBAMA: I thought that was really inappropriate, you know. It was like, she’s getting an award. What are you butting in? I hear you. I agree with you.
ROBERT GIBBS: John, does that count as the first question?
OBAMA: The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She’s getting her award. What’s he doing up there?
QUESTION: Why would he even do that?
OBAMA: He’s a jackass. (Laughter.) Now all this stuff. . .
UNKNOWN: That’s what Pink said.
OBAMA: I’m assuming all this stuff. . . Where’s the pool?. . . C’mon guys. Cut the president some slack. I’ve got a lot of other stuff on my plate. Yeah. Because I remember last time there was the fly thing. That was the highlight of a. . .
QUESTION: Now that worked out well for you. You were a ninja.
OBAMA: Except PETA.
Of course this is one of those scandals where there is lots of smoke, and not much fire. Beyond the ABC News mistake, Obama was just telling it like it was. Even Kanye West seems to agree that he was acting like a jackass.