Obama: I got the sucker

David Usborne
Wednesday 17 June 2009 18:14

Barack Obama has proved before a coast-to-coast television audience that he can act as his own SWAT team if his personal space - if not America’s national security - unexpectedly comes under threat. In this instance we are not talking foreign terrorists or recalcitrant Republicans, but a fly that wanted to share some air time with him.

His is a man who does not like to be distracted, especially if he is trying to explain his new financial regulatory proposals to the business channel, CNBC. On noticing the blue bottle, he at first waves his hands about, muttering “Get out of here”. Then he goes perfectly still. The fly settles on his left hand. The right hand goes up and … zap.

“Now where were we?’ he asks the interviewer, John Harwood, before the squashed intruder has even hit the deck (or the East Room rug). But almost as quickly, the President realizes he has done something cool. And there are witnesses. “That was pretty impressive, wasn’t it,” he not-so-humbly observes. “I got the sucker.” And in case any of us missed it, he looks at the camera crew, points to the corpse on the carpet and asks, “You want to film that?”

Happily for him, the people from CNBC obliged. And the President-and-the-Fly was not only being replayed repeatedly by the channel’s delighted producers but was well on its way to becoming today’s YouTube hit.

That he looks a little pleased with himself on tape is understandable. Not since July of 2008, when he sunk an impossible looking shot on a basketball court in Kuwait as a mere candidate for President, has he worn a smile of such self-satisfaction. But Mr Obama may want to consider if he is in danger of over-doing the superman shtick. Dispensing with other buzzing pests - Kim Jong-Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Dick Cheney - may not be so easy.

Truth be told, meanwhile, the fly may have had the last word by upstaging Mr Obama. Everyone is watching the fly clip but hardly anyone can tell you what the President was saying about Wall Street and the banks.

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