November 26, 2010 | ISSUE 46•47
WASHINGTON—Having admittedly "reached the end of [his] rope," President Barack Obama sent a rambling 75,000-word e-mail to the entire nation Wednesday, revealing deep frustrations with America's political culture, his presidency, U.S. citizens, and himself.
The president's e-mail also CC'd a number of world leaders.
The e-mail, which was titled "A couple things," addressed countless topics in a dense, stream-of-consciousness rant that often went on for hundreds of words without any punctuation or paragraph breaks. Throughout, the president expressed his aggravation on subjects as disparate as the war in Afghanistan, the sluggish economic recovery, his live-in mother-in-law, China's undervalued currency, Boston's Logan Airport, and tort reform.
According to its timestamp, the e-mail was sent at 4:26 a.m.
"Hey Everyone," read the first line of the president's note, which at 27 megabytes proved too large for millions of Americans' in-boxes. "I'm writing to you because I need to clear up some important issues. First and foremost, I want to say that this has nothing to do with the midterm elections because I was going to send an e-mail regardless of the outcome. However, I guess one could argue that, in the end, the midterms are an important measure of a president's overall success, though I wouldn't go so far as to call the results a referendum. Legislatively, I feel I've had a lot of success that I think history will judge quite favorably. I mean, pretty much every modern president has seen his party lose seats during a midterm, you know?
"Anyway," the e-mail continued.
A 150-page printout confirms that while Obama's points are generally cogent in the first quarter of the message, the increasingly chaotic spacing, multiple spelling errors, and near total lack of commas rendered the later portions almost impossible to parse.
Excerpts indicate an erratic use of capitalized and underlined words, with the phrase "Stopped a second Great Depression" mentioned 14 times in a bolded red font double the size of surrounding text. In addition, the e-mail contained multiple links to the Wikipedia entry for Social Security and line graphs of Ronald Reagan's year-by-year approval ratings.
Inside Obama Rambling Email
Because Obama copied and pasted some critical passages directly from right-wing editorials and personal blogs, the e-mail included formatting irregularities that caused many citizens to receive a message in which all of the apostrophes were replaced with question marks. Moreover, some software flagged it as spam.
"I don?t mean to be rude, but I thought we were all on the samepage about helath care reform," the 29th paragraph of Obama's e-mail read in part. "It was part of my platform. You all knew I was goingt o pursue it when you elected me. And just real fast, going back on what I said earlier, the economic stimulus cut taxes for 95% of Americans. It didn't raise them. It cut them. You people need to look at facts and stop litnening to all the right wing crap out there. By the way, we're basically out of Iraq now. You?re welcome."
"JESUS CHRIST, WE LOST OVER @ MILLION JOBS BEFOREE I EVEN TOOK OFFICE!!!11!" reads a sentence occupying a large white space between two massive chunks of texts, one of which was a 6,500-word tangent on the Muslim community center being built two blocks from the former World Trade Center site.
According to White House sources, Obama "snapped" late Tuesday afternoon when a staffer reminded him he was scheduled to take a call from incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner. At that point, a visibly disgusted Obama was observed slowly repeating the words "House Speaker Boehner" before ordering everyone to leave the Oval Office, where he sat typing and, according to some, banging angrily on his keyboard for the next five hours.
When White House Chief of Staff Pete Rouse urged the president to sleep on the e-mail, Obama told him he had already sent it.
"In terms of fulfilling campaign promises I think I've actually done a pretty good job in terms of fulfilling campaign," Obama wrote in response to an anonymous comment made to a post by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. "I know I said I'd close Guantanamo and I sti5ill want to do that but it's harder than it looks. And yes I know I said it would be done by now along with energy reform too—-trust me it is still a priority because "TOGETHER WE CAN & MUST EMBRACE CLEAN ENERGY""
"Yes we can!" the e-mail concluded. "Ugh, you know what? Forget it. Believe what you want. Yours, Barack."
Thus far the response from the American public has been subdued, though a sixth of the populace did not even receive the e-mail because the message generated 50 million mailer-daemon delivery failure notifications.
"I tried reading [Obama's] e-mail, but it was just way too long," said 48-year-old Sophia Washington of Moraine, OH, adding that because her computer displayed the text all on one line, she had to scroll from left to right in order to read it. "I just ended up skimming to see if my name was in there. It wasn't, but I did notice that my daughter can stay on my insurance for one more year. That's great. I think that's because the Republicans won the midterms."
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