February 2nd, 2009
10:34 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama takes a dig at Jessica Simpson?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.simpsonj.gi.jpg caption="Some thought Obama took a dig at Jessica Simpson."](CNN) - Did Barack Obama take a dig at pop star Jessica Simpson?

A transcription error set the Internet abuzz Monday as viewers debated an off-hand presidential comment about the pop star.

The remark came at the end of the President Obama's interview with NBC Sunday, when interviewer Matt Lauer held up a copy of the latest US Magazine, which features first lady Michelle Obama along with daughters Sasha and Malia. On the left side of the cover was a picture of Simpson, whom the magazine said is in a "weight battle."

Lauer noted the magazine had replaced the president's spot in the family photo with the Simpson headline.

“You got replaced by Jessica Simpson,” Lauer said.

“Yeah, who’s losing a weight battle apparently,” Obama said, according to the network’s interview transcript, sparking a firestorm online. “Yeah. Oh, well.”

But the transcript misquoted the president who visibly only re-read the magazine’s headline that Lauer was holding up - “She’s in a ‘weight battle,’ apparently” - and did not say that Simpson was "losing" that fight.

In the future, the president may opt for safer, less controversial subjects — like government-funded contraception, or the U.S. relationship with Iran.

Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. ap

    Seems very unethical to me to use a title like that when you know perfectly well that it was a transcription error and the President said nothing negative about Simpson. You can see by the comments here, that many people are not even reading the article. I thought CNN was supposed to be a news organization with professional journalists. Is this really the best you could do?

    February 2, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Barack wins and America collectively loses.

    It is amazing how the world quakes whenever the Messiah speaks. What a joke, meanwhile everyone is losing their careers and livelihood and Barack the Messiah is making cracks about celebrities. He is the biggest celebrity of them all. Too bad he doesn't actually do anything for us.

    He is a talker

    He is NOT a doer.

    February 2, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. joe


    February 2, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Peter Ramsey

    I apologise. I don't want to start a fight between Barrack and Michelle over that sexy Jessica Simpson woman.

    February 2, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. rose

    why the headline?? I wanted this interview and he did not take a dig at Jessica. He was just reading what was on the cover and it was a lead in by Matt Lauer.

    February 2, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. AnnaBanana

    I didn't see this interview but from watching all of his other speeches and interviews I know he is a man who is very careful and thoughtful about what he says. So I would strongly imagine he was simply reading the headline off the magazine and not poking fun at Jessica Simpson. He obviously has more important things on his mind than Jessica Simpson's current weight. I find it laughable that someone thought this was newsworthy, or that anyone would even be dumb enough to believe he would actually imply that she was fat. Give the man a little more credit than that, he's not an idiot. I seriously doubt he cares what the latest headline of People magazine is. Not exactly where people look to read facts and news. It's a gossip rag.

    February 2, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Seattle

    You print this trash by adding words he never even said.
    Cnn why don;'t you get your stories straight /you consider adding words that you added NEWS and from the ones reading this you CNN ARE MORE LIKE FOX not by the day but by THE MINUTE .
    The scum bags that make up things then print them won't even print their own names on this made up trash.
    With the world in peril its sad these scum bags can't write NEWS and for the previous bloggers can't you read before adding your made-up comments.

    February 2, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. lance


    Please don't act like Fox News. You are not FOX – DO REAL WORK!

    February 2, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. Marcus

    Do some of you choose to completely ignore what was said at the end of the article? Or are your comprehension skills no where to be found? It's pretty obvious what was really said. And Leigh, good job bringing race into this.

    February 2, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. S Callahan

    Frankly, this is just the media streching to fill space. I fully believe President Obama could give two hoots if Jessica is thin or fat...who cares? He has a beautiful wife, that he dotes on, at home....

    Please....get some intellectually stimulating comments going with a 'real' topic of concern.

    February 2, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. Kris

    He was just reading the headline – leave the guy alone, stop looking for stuff to pick on. We have way more important problems!!

    February 2, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Cori

    This whole issue has totally blown out of proportion. This isn't important. He read the headline on the front cover people, and nothing more! Of course, I would expect American's to be concerned with this trivial crap rather than be concerned with real issues our country is facing. It's so typical of America and their obsession for drama and pop culture that this would be a concern.

    February 2, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. Ben

    You idiots. He didn't say anything bad about her weight. Read the entire article.

    February 2, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Beverly, NYC

    Truth B Told February 2nd, 2009 6:00 pm ET: Unless you are Brad Pitt, I would not be taking about the First Lady's figure, which is just fine. Miss Laura wasn't a size 2 herself.

    February 2, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. saw it

    If you saw it live- he was reading it off the cover, and it was very funny, because in a way, he was pointing out how stupid the headline is...

    February 2, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. Art MCWhinnie

    He didn't mean anything by it it was already in the headlines.Stop
    putting everything under a microscope for crying out loud.I we going to
    beat on him for his choice of the football team he chose.Give him some slack people.

    February 2, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. please

    Leigh – maybe you should read the article before commenting....

    February 2, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. daly

    All these comments are so ridiculous! I watched this and he was just reading off the headlines on the magazine. It didn't seem like a direct line to Jessica who must be loving the publicity and attention she is getting from all this nonsense.. whether is about her weight or her beauty or whatever it is, celebrities just want to be on the media no matter what the topic is.

    Too many people out there hating President Obama. He's our President get over it haters and frankly, the most intellectual, eloquent President I've seen in a long time.Learn how to accept him haters, he's your President now.

    February 2, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Scott L

    Obama said it. Why the cover up?

    February 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Danny

    Leigh February 2nd, 2009 5:54 pm ET

    Very sad. He needs to look a little closer to home! We are all not perfect so no comment was necessary. Would he have said that if it had been someone of color?

    SERIOUSLY??? That is the best you can come up with from reading the story? Sometimes its better to look at the things involved for yourself before you mouth off something like that....

    and CNN, COMEON why make a headline from a non accurate statement unless you want to make headlines??? Last I checked that is a job for the tabloids?

    As for Obama.... You are a very humble person, Keep up the good work.

    February 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. RT

    Are you kidding me? If anyone had common sense AND sw the interview, he just read what the magazine said. Matt Lauer even noted that after the interview. And now everyone is discussing this? Just another example of how the gossip whoring media and the general public are degenerates.

    February 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Lisa Vilen

    I am sorry, but this article reads like it came off of a IheartPalin website, or something along those lines. Reads like a high shool newspaper "revenge" piece.

    February 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  23. Former Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    President Obama was clearly just reading the headline on the magazine if anyone bothered to view the actual interview! People are soooo stupid.

    February 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  24. Scott L

    @Brandon Taratoot

    A lot of people loved Bush when he came into office in 2000.

    Have fun eating your sizzling Pelosi style pork!

    February 2, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Sye the Pychic

    Shes also the reason the Dallas quarterback was a bum this year.She burnt the poor kid out, lol.

    February 2, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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