Not that it’s a scandal.  I don’t really care if the president says “ass” once in a while.  Still, the attention on it (from the right and Obama’s detractors), and the reaction to the attention (by the media) has been pretty interesting to watch.  I haven’t even watched the actual interview by Matt Lauer (NBC’s Today Show, June 8, 2010).  Still… the story was every where for a few days.  It’ll probably crop up here and there for a while.

One thing I’ve only seen mentioned once, though, is the question that led to Obama’s infamous “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick” statement.  That singular mention was in this Steve Benen post, from Washington Monthly:

But it’s probably worth noting the context of the exchange, because the president’s choice of words was a direct reflection of the question. Here’s the Q&A:

LAUER: Critics are now talking about your style, which is the first time I’ve heard that in a long time. They’re saying here is a guy who likes to be known as cool and calm and collected, and this isn’t the time for cool, calm and collected. This is not the time to meet with experts and advisers; this is a time to spend more time in the Gulf and — I never thought I’d say this to a president — but kick some butt. And I don’t mean it to be funny.

OBAMA: No, and I understand. And here’s what — I’m going to push back hard on this. Because I think that this is a — just an idea that got in folks heads, and the media’s run with it. I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be. And I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers so I know whose ass to kick.

The “whose ass to kick” line wasn’t just some scripted attempt to sound tough. Lauer pushed the notion that the president shouldn’t meet with experts; he should “kick some butt.” Obama responded that he meets with people who know what they’re talking about so he’d know “whose ass to kick.”

It’s probably not true in every circle of society, but at least in several, “ass” and “butt” are pretty interchangeable words, and Lauer did set a tone, which the President matched.  Appropriately, I think.  But there are the folks getting hot under the collar about this stuff, and mainly because they aren’t bothering to find out what sparked Obama’s choice of words.  To my mind, it makes a difference.

And, ironically, I might add, many of the hot-under-the-collar-President’s-don’t-talk-that-way folks are the same ones who seemed to want more emotion from the Prez.  Weird.  Sometimes… well, most of the time, I just don’t understand these people.

So, enough on that.  Till it comes up again.  And it will.

* sigh *