Tales from the Trail

Presidential apology in slang uses S word

February 4, 2009

President Barack Obama apologized for the Daschle debacle by saying “I screwed up” which raises a question of language — did the leader of the free world use a bad word or not?

Some grown adults would probably not use that S word when talking to their parents and some would likely chastise their children for using it in front of them.

OBAMA/GREGGThe word probably rates a PG and fits somewhere between damn and the four-letter word beginning with F.

Consulting dictionary.com the term ”screw up” is listed as slang meaning to make a mess of an undertaking.  The word becomes vulgar slang if  used in a phrase with the word “around” after it and takes on more of the meaning of the F word.

By that definition it appears the term “screwed up” is just slang after all and not a profanity which is defined as “abusive, vulgar or irreverent language.”

So looks like Rahm Emanuel, famous for R-rated tirades, has not rubbed off on the president quite yet.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama at the White House)

Comments
9 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Really? This is news? C’mon, we’re all adults here and the use of a barely slang word is a problem? Give the guy a break.

Posted by Justin | Report as abusive
 

Are we being serious?! Of all the words he could say we’re tripping over the President saying “screw it”? He is human after all. Heck we just got rid of a dude that SCREWED up the English language daily! I’m just going to hope that this is a joke.. LOL a really funny joke

Posted by Treysi Knox | Report as abusive
 

What! How is this relevant?

Posted by P!NG | Report as abusive
 

Give me a break! We’ve got bigger things to worry about than whether “I screwed up” is a dirty phrase. It’s common usage, for cryin’ out loud!

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive
 

I don’t care that he SAID ‘screwed up’! I’m upset that he is constantly screwing up!
Can we focus on all of the screw ups he has had in the last two weeks?

Posted by Kristen | Report as abusive
 

The last time a cabinet secretary nomination became a humiliating debacle for a president was probably 2004, when George W. Bush insisted that Bernie Kerik was the single best person in the country to head the Department of Homeland Security. Years later, it’s still hilarious. Once the nomination imploded, the Bush White House quickly sent out word: this is all Rudy Giuliani’s fault.

It is refreshing to see a president own up to a mistake, candidly and unequivocally, telling the nation that if we’re looking for someone to blame for an error, the buck stops with him. Our most recent president famously refused to admit error, until his final days in the White House.

Perhaps I’m setting the bar a little low, but I’d forgotten what it sounds like to hear a president say, “I made a mistake,” without denying reality and/or blaming someone else.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive
 

It’s a question of self control. Past that, this is not news.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive
 

It may not be the most eloquent term but it’s not as bad as Cheney telling Patrick Leahy to “Go f*** yourself” in a session of the Senate now is it? At least Obama doesn’t make words up as he goes along like our last President and is willing to admit to a mistake. I think his critics are “misunderestimating” him.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive
 

ok you screwed up pay more attention in future and dont make a habit of it especialy when thinking of canning military programmes

Posted by simon | Report as abusive
 

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