Several days after taking flak for his disparaging comments dishonoring such heroism, Obama blubbered about what he really meant.
''I was actually upset with myself when I said that, because I never use that term,'' he told the Des Moines Register. Well, then what dastardly saboteur slipped it into his well-rehearsed stump speech? What supernatural force produced the guttural noise that glided effortlessly from his voicebox through his lips and pronounced the term "wasted"?
"What I would say -- and meant to say -- is that their service hasn't been honored," Obama told The New York Times and other reporters in Nashua, N.H., "because our civilian strategy has not honored their courage and bravery, and we have put them in a situation in which it is hard for them to succeed." As opposed to pulling out precipitously?
Obama offered the standard "sorry-if-I-offended-anyone" disclaimer: " . . . I would absolutely apologize if any of them felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they'd shown. You know, and if you look at all the other speeches that I've made, that is always the starting point in my view of this war.''
Except on the first day of the biggest campaign of his life, that wasn't the starting point. The starting point of his discussion on the troops in Iraq began with the letter "w" and ended with "-asted."
"Even as I said it," Obama claims, "I realized I had misspoken."
So what, one wonders, prevented him from immediately correcting himself there on stage, as thousands cheered the term he now says he immediately regretted?