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Blog Buzz: 'Ass'-tounded by Obama

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
President Obama's quote about "whose ass to kick" yesterday is ample fodder for the conservative blogosphere, which compared his comments to those of former President George W. Bush, who was often assailed by critics for his aggressive rhetoric. Liberal bloggers also noted Obama's unusual shift in tone, but as means to emphasize the gravity of the oil spill.

NRO's Daniel Foster commented on Obama's statement, during an interveiw with NBC's Matt Lauer, that "I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago, I was meeting with fisherman down there, standing in the rain. . .We talk to these folks because they potentially had the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."

Wrote Foster, "To review, the President of the United States is patting himself on the back for caring enough about an Old Testament-scale natural disaster to visit the scene eighteen days into it, and for caring about it before those lazy armchair pundits on the TV. (How many fire booms and Coast Guard clippers did Fox News deploy? That's right, zero. Truly the Party of No.) And then he threatens to kick some ass."

Foster continued, alluding to Bush. "All sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I mean, it's not like he said he was "The Decider" or something similarly juvenile. This guy's an adult."

"Last night, Barack Obama tried to play Mr. Tough Guy, but talk is cheap," said Erick Erickson on his blog Red State. "When George Bush stood on the rubble of the World Trade Center and said, 'I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!' people knew he meant business... When Barack Obama said he wants to find out whose rear end to kick, it’s just a convenient way for him to buy more time to tie this all to George Bush," he continues.

And for Hot Air's Allahpundit, Obama's comments are too little and come too late. "I thought nothing would top 'plug the damn hole' as a feeble show of command in the teeth of pure federal impotence, but never underestimate The One," Allahpundit wrote. "here’s his attempt at damage control with another two months of this nightmare (at least) still to go, imitating the same sort of bravado that the left used to detest in Bush in hopes that it’ll stop their caterwauling about his dispassion and give them a happy new meme to push. 'See? He’s mad. He cares.'"

At the liberal AMERICAblog, Chris in Paris described Obama's change in tone as "interesting, strange and unnatural." Chris also looked at the substance behind the style. "Good for Obama that he's talking tough and even saying BP CEO Tony Hayward should be fired, but we're deep into this crisis. There is a lot of lost time to make up and the gap needs to be closed immediately."

BalloonJuice's John Cole made his point about what he perceived as the triviality of the "ass kicking" comment by relegating it to footnote status in his post, first linking to a grim article in the New York Times today that "the immense undersea gusher of oil and gas, seen on live video feed, looks as big as it did last week, or bigger."

Several paragraphs later, Cole wrote, "Our press corps is all titillated that Obama said 'kick ass.' Should be an interesting day."