Word quickly spread online on Tuesday night that President Obama weighed in on musician Kanye West's outburst at the MTV VMA Awards on Sunday night, calling the infamously loose-tongued star a "jackass."
The president made the comment during a portion of an interview with CNBC that was supposed to be off the record.
The entertainment Web site TMZ obtained a recording of the comment. President Obama can be heard saying, "I thought that was really inappropriate... The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person, she's getting her award, what's he doing up there? He's a jackass."
Though the remark was not reportable, ABC News anchor Terry Moran made note of it on the social networking site Twitter, writing, "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential."
With more than 1 million Twitter users following Moran's comments on the micro-blogging site, the "tweet" quickly spread, even though Moran promptly removed it. An ABC spokesperson gave the following explanation to Politico:
"In the process of reporting on remarks by President Obama that were made during a CNBC interview, ABC News employees prematurely tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview. This was done before our editorial process had been completed. That was wrong. We apologize to the White House and CNBC and are taking steps to ensure that it will not happen again."
Mr. Obama's comment came after West interrupted the acceptance speech of musician Taylor Swift at the MTV awards show. West, who is known for his outbursts, once said on live television that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
Mr. Obama may have had some empathy for Swift after experiencing his own interruption last week, during an address to Congress, from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). The two separate outbursts were combined in a humorous Web video. Still, the president should know a thing or two about the consequences of commenting on affairs he is not involved in.