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Obama and the fly. The untold story.

Executive privilege? To see President Barack Obama take matters into his own hands during an interview with CNBC correspondent John Harwood on Tuesday, go to


Executive privilege? To see President Barack Obama take matters into his own hands during an interview with CNBC correspondent John Harwood on Tuesday, go to

The merry fly sensed no danger, because flies are dumb like that. But a killer was taking aim.

Steady … steady …


Barack Obama, in the middle of an interview at the White House on Tuesday, killed a fly.

He took a breath.

"Now. Where were we?"

Violence raged in Iran. Americans spent their food stamps. Much more important stuff happened.

Yet everyone had an opinion of President Obama, Fly Vigilante.

It was too easy. Right there, for all to see, he displayed the classic Obama personality dilemma — the one you know you talk about at the water cooler, don't lie.

Is he a man who can make anything look cool and effortless under pressure, even pest control? A man who gets the job done? Or is he so snobbish and elite that he would kill something, crow about it, and tell the camera to film his buzzy conquest?

Bill O'Reilly: "I thought he was against capital punishment. Obviously, the fly is a pinhead."

Comedian Jim Norton: "My favorite part of that whole thing is, after he does it, he goes, 'Now, where were we?' Like he just slapped a wolverine that was attacking him. Like he was a real man, just did a little hunting."

Jimmy Fallon: "That's some pretty impressive hand-eye coordination right there. Makes Obama look like a bad a--."

Stephen Colbert, holding a jar of flies: "Here to discuss the senseless tragedy, the wife and 93 children of the fly that President Obama killed in a mad display of unchecked executive power."

A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals blog: "He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act."

Perhaps that's why people care. The humanity of it all.

"He's just like one of us," said Sandy Dumont, a Washington, D.C., image consultant. "Here's something bothering you, and you take care of it and get on with the business of the day. Image is really about being yourself. Who he is and the way he acts is Barack Obama, who happens to be the president."

We surf the Web and stand in the grocery line looking for these moments, picking over the personal lives of politicians and celebrities.

Sharon Stone picks acne in the rear view! Justin Timberlake buys Diet Coke! Denzel Washington has cracked pepper in his teeth! The stars are just like us!

It was George W. Bush dodging a shoe to the face. Ronald Reagan telling a heckler to shut up. Bill Clinton saying he didn't inhale. Lyndon B. Johnson holding a beagle by the ears.

Maybe we felt new sympathy for these imposing leaders of the free world. Maybe we related to them. Maybe we respected them a little more.

Or a little less.

Thursday, a 15-year-old boy named William with the screen name "Psychoactivism" posted a video on YouTube. He rubbed his moppy hair, talked about politics. He was happy to see some antics back in the White House.

Then, he got philosophical.

"It is a fly. It is annoying. I do know what that's like. But what if he caught it in a cup and took it outside and let it free? How much of a president would he be then?"

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at or (727) 893-8857.

Obama and the fly. The untold story. 06/18/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 22, 2009 8:29am]
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