The Ticket

‘Obama bin Laden’: Schieffer’s debate gaffe unfortunate but not unusual

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Ticket

While prefacing a question for Mitt Romney about Pakistan during Monday's presidential debate on foreign policy, moderator Bob Schieffer had an unfortunate slip of the tongue, referring to Osama bin Laden as "Obama bin Laden."

"We know that Pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped us catch Obama-uh-bin Laden," Schieffer said, seeming to realize his mistake immediately.

The 75-year-old host of CBS' "Face the Nation" quickly recovered: "It still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give Pakistan billions of dollars. Is it time for us to divorce Pakistan?"

Schieffer told Politico on Tuesday he was initially unaware of the slip-up: "I saw it in a story last night. I said to my wife, 'Did I say that?' And she said, 'Yeah, you did.'"

The flub was notable because of the stage—a presidential debate—but certainly not novel.

During coverage of the al-Qaida leader's death in 2011, many members of the media made the same mistake. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Norah O'Donnell, CBS' Mark Knoller, Fox News' Geraldo Rivera and local Fox affiliates were among those who fell victim to the Osama-Obama curse in the immediate aftermath of bin Laden's killing:

ABC News ran a scroll on its website declaring "Obama Bin Laden Dead." Diane Sawyer's "World News" blog reported that "OBAMA WILL BE BURIED AT SEA."

Geraldo Rivera said "Obama is dead" on Fox News before correcting himself.

An anchor for Fox's Sacramento, Calif., affiliate declared on air: "President Obama speaking from the East Room of the White House, telling the nation and the world President Obama is, in fact, dead."

After mocking Fox for that error, Keith Olbermann tweeted, "Mr. Bush personally de-prioritized the hunt for Obama."

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