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A Bump in the Fist Bump Story

By Jonathan Weisman
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- During Barack Obama's visit to a Christian social service organization in Appalachian Ohio yesterday, the presumptive Democratic nominee appeared to shy away from a fist bump proffered by an exuberant young boy.

But the Obama campaign is trying to beat back that narrative, filed in a pool report from the tour and widely picked up elsewhere. That's not how it was, campaign aides say -- and forget any notion that he was cowed by a Fox News broadcaster calling his famous fist bump with wife Michelle last month a "terrorist fist jab."

Turns out, according to a tape of the event, the boy was asking Obama to autograph his outstretched fist, not bump it, jab it, or anything else.

Here is the actual exchange, as reported by the campaign:

Child: Can you sign my hand?

Obama: If I start that ... plus Mom might not be happy when she comes home. She'll be like, 'What is the dirt on your hand?' ... see ya.

Child: Can you sign it in pen so it will come off?

The child rose his hand in a fist to get Obama's attention as he asked for a signature -- perhaps prompting the fist bump portrayal.

Now that the controversy has been settled, Obama can go on to tour the North American Aerospace Command, the U.S. Northern Command head quarters, then hold a fundraiser tonight at the tony Broadmoor.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 2, 2008; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Gee American heroes are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, a presidential campaign is on to determine the direction of our failing economy and failed wars, one candidatewants to stay there and Barack Obama wants to get things done and get us out of there..

And WAPO editors are printing THIS non-event non-story?

Hey there goes an ambulance maybe you should start chasing it, huh?

Posted by: JBE | July 3, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Why is it so damn hard for the media to just say "We made a mistake"? Why the need for snark ("the Obama campaign is trying to beat back that narrative")?

How about just "We were wrong and the Obama campaign provided the tape showing we made a mistake. We apologize to the Obama campaign".

Is that so hard?

Posted by: Lisa | July 3, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Which Fox News broadcaster called the fist bumping a terrorist fist jab? I didn't realize that terrorists had a universal hand signal. I was ignorant enough to think the bumping was home-grown, in America's cities (which, come to think of it, could well be infiltrated by terorists).

Posted by: Steve | July 3, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I think the big story of this campaign is going to be the utter ignorance of fact by the MSM. The only question is, who can we get to report on it? Oh, and "americafirst": you apparently haven't been paying attention.

Posted by: bmack | July 3, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you. It's on tape. It is fact - not something that is beat back.

Forget the fact it shouldn't have been news for your little head anyway. But the fact that it is factual disproven deserves more than your extremely weak rendering.

I'd really like to know how you can look yourself in the mirror when you report on such trivial stories. You have to know how idiotic we all think you look - or perhaps you just care about the cocktail crowd.

Posted by: DBJ | July 3, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this right, you report a totaly false story as completely true. Then, when it is proven to you that it is not true, you don't even bother to correct the mistake. Instead you say that the campaign is "beating back" a story and "according to them" it happened differently. No, according to the FACTS it happened differently. I am tempted to insult you, but that won't get me anywhere.

Posted by: Bubba | July 2, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

WaPo and all the other newsies got it totally wrong. Now they say stuff like "beat back". What did the Obama campaigne exactly beat back. the video says it all. All of you second rate newsies got it wrong in a show of well choreographed stupidity.

Posted by: hayden | July 2, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Geez. ABC News has the video, and the tape is pretty clear about this.

Which leads to some questions:

1) Why write, "The Obama campaign is trying to beat back that narrative"? It's not a narrative. It's a fact. Just admit you got the fact wrong; don't make it sound like the Obama campaign is trying to win a spin war.

2) You link to a previous WaPo blog post with the erroneous reporting. Why hasn't that post been updated or retracted?

3) I'm having a hard time figuring out how the "press pool" reporter could have gotten this fact wrong in the first place. Don't you guys bother to check facts or ask for a response from the campaign before writing silly unsubstantiated stories?

Posted by: w05 | July 2, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I think it's pretty clear that the reporter who banged this post out did not see the video (whether it was unavailable or the reporter did not seek it out is unclear), hence the tongue-in-cheek tone. Still, it's clear now that that everyone in the press was wrong about the incident and whomever typed up that pool report erred fatally and needs to be called out for it. And The Post needs to update their blogs to definitively correct the record, minus the snarky tone.

Posted by: Jon | July 2, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The Obama campaign is "trying to beat back that narrative"? What? What half-decent news organization publishes a crap story and then, when the story turns out to have been demonstrably false, says that the "narrative" is being "beaten back" instead of issuing a correction and apology?

Ill-mannered incompetence is not the way forward for the newspaper industry.

Posted by: ALL | July 2, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

It is so obvious that WAPO loves McCain and refuses to do any real or hard reporting on him. You have been ignoring for months Phil Gramm who is repsonsible for the Enron loophole and is one of McCain's key econmoic advisers or Charlie Black's very recent lobbyist ties. Columbia, anyone?

I feel as though I might as well be watching FAUX news or reading the Wash Times. WAPO reports negatively and falsely on every move Obama makes whether real or imgagined. Give me a break, and an apology to Obama for making him look as if he shunned a child for political reasons.

You truly give the press and journalism a bad name. NEXT TIME CHECK YOUR FACTS, IF YOU KNOW HOW.

Posted by: SFGal | July 2, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Weisman,

What you left out in this article is the fact that there is a video with very clear picture and sound supporting what the campaign is saying, actually happened. I have seen the video and it nothing about any fist bump. The boy wanted Obama to sign on his hand and the the president to be said " may not like that...". I'm sure he would have gladly done the fist bump if the boy wanted one. Nothing wrong with that. Most of the American people, especially those of us below 50 years of age like doing the fist bump.

Posted by: Kensing James | July 2, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Faux news, the Republican right wingnut channel will do anything to avoid reporting on the complete and total failure of the Bush Administration. Oh look! He's crossing his arms just like a communist!!!

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 2, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

hey americafirst:

what you say doesn't actually make any sense. But since you ask the question:

"What can I do for my country?"
You could start with paying enough taxes to keep us from going trillions of dollars into debt. you could also keep us out of misguided wars. What could be more whiny than multi-billion-dollar corporations, officers living out 100-million-dollar a year lifestyles, complaining about how much they have to pay in taxes? How can you possibly not consider that whiny?

Posted by: pdx or us | July 2, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama = HOPE
McCain = FEAR

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

lets make it simple

McCain = what can i do for my country

obama = what can my country do for me

the choice is clear -- McCain 08

Posted by: americafirst | July 2, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

This is the level that Fox "News" and the Republicans have taken the country.

The Republican vision of america seems to be a very sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Why is this newsworthy? This story is pure drivel!

Posted by: patrice | July 2, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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