There's no other way to say it: President Obama stepped on his silver tongue. And when it comes to bowling, he's still throwing gutter balls.
Most people recall Mr. Obama's campaign stop at an Altoona bowling alley last year, where he managed a meager 37 pins in seven frames. He vowed to do better and last week told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno he'd been practicing on the White House lanes, where he recently bowled a 129.
So far so good, but then the silver-tongued orator stepped over the foul line, saying his bowling was "like Special Olympics or something." Ouch.
To his credit, Mr. Obama realized that succumbing to the temptation to trade jokes with a comedian was a bad idea. After the show, he telephoned Tim Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, to apologize. The next day Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated the mea culpa and said Mr. Obama considered the Special Olympics a "triumph of the human spirit."
This president ought to know by now that his every word is going to be recorded, replayed and parsed to within an inch of its rhetorical life. And even if that weren't so, it's never OK to stretch for laughs at the expense of other people -- not even when the one you're poking fun at is yourself.
Mr. Obama has enough on his plate, what with the AIG bonuses, the sagging economy, the banking and credit card crises and his NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket. Humor can be dangerous.
The president should stick to stuff like running the Free World and leave the wisecracks to professionals like Mr. Leno.