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Video: Obama Would - and Does - Hurt a Fly

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Things that are not news: Human beings don't like annoying buzzing insects.

Everyone knows this. And perhaps it is this universal quality -- the human antipathy to noisome insects -- that has made the above video of President Obama swatting and killing a fly that has landed on his hand catch on online. Good for a chuckle, a momentary flash of identification -- who hasn't tried to hit a fly with their hand, after all? -- and the satisfaction (and revulsion) of seeing someone successfully win a small round in the long war of our species against the class insecta.

Or perhaps it is the too literal reminder of the idiom for gentleness, would not hurt a fly, which a Democratic president has explicitly and coolly swatted back.

Or the contest between this most powerful man and a mundane summer torment.

For whatever reason, we want to watch. And so we do.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 17, 2009; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Making the Rounds  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: WH: Financial Overhaul Plan Is Cautious
Next: Obama Issues New Call to Service


Flies have a religion?


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 17, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Ralph Macchio did it with chopsticks. :)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | June 17, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

OMG! I am so-o-o glad you reported on this. I can now go to bed with the knowledge that the WaPo covers *all* of the important news.

Tick, tick, tick... the WaPo's amount-of-time-'til-going-out-of-business clock is winding down.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | June 17, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I am a Buddhist and I am extremely offended to see President Obama killing a fly on national television. The president should show respect and toleranceto all religions.

Posted by: mywu | June 17, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Beware the poor fly, now the symbol of reason, which will rise to buzz again! You can swat the fly, squash it, but in the end, your outrageous taxes and spending will only unleash more flies to buzz and bite you!

Posted by: PaulShultz1 | June 17, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part of this video is the shared reaction of everyone in the room. EVERYONE in the world understands and appreciates the small, completely insignificant feeling of success that immediately follows the swatting of a fly.

Posted by: KobayashiMaru | June 17, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

This one is just too easy and therefore must defer my comments here. It's just too easy.

Posted by: techresmgt | June 17, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

The fly was actually a miniature reconnaissance drone planted in the room by the Chinese.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | June 17, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Not only can he walk, talk, listen and speak intelligently at the same time but his hand to eye coordination are particularly quick. Try swatting a fly on the back of your other hand and getting it the first time.

What does he look like on a Segue?


Posted by: ceflynline | June 17, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

This is the end!
I am OUTRAGED!....JUST OUTRAGED that Barry Hussein would swat this poor defenseless patriotic fly..Does it not have any rights!? DOES THIS FLY NOT HAVE RIGHTS LIKE ALL AMERICANS!? THIS FLY IS GOD'S MIRACLE AND THIS BARRY BRUT KILLED IT!
Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity will hear of this! Just you wait Barry!

Posted by: hayden1 | June 17, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"a strong warning to those nuisance countries"

and congressional republicans!

Posted by: nodebris | June 17, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse


So when will POTUS swat down the bureaucratic saboteurs and Dr. Strangeloves who are violating human and civil rights of unjustly targeted Americans and their families under the false flag of "national security"?

OR (if link is exterminated):

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 17, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The thing that makes it intriguing is that distracted by the nuisance, he had the patience to stop, let the fly land, sneak his opposite hand up, and lay the death blow.

I think that should be a strong warning to those nuisance countries that continue buzzing in our general direction.


Republicans for Obama

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | June 17, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

YEAH!!! A victory!

I grew up in the country and had to use a flyswatter so I was impressed. Of course, I wish he had washed his hands afterward:)

Posted by: rlj1 | June 17, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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