Boston – For a moment last night at a fundraiser held in Boston’s Symphony Hall, one had to wonder whether President Obama had singlehandedly turned the state of Massachusetts from blue to red. In that moment he re-learned an important political lesson: know your crowd and, well, don’t joke about the Red Sox.
“And finally, Bos, I just want to say thank you for Youkilis,” joshed the president near the beginning of his 40-minute speech.
That line elicited what sounded like booos in the room*. Rarely does one hear the President of the United States get booed at a fundraiser, but many of the 1800 people in the room who paid at least $144 to be there, didn’t take kindly to the president joking about Kevin Youkilis, the beloved Red Sox sluggah** who was traded this past weekend to the Chicago White Sox.
The trade still smarted and the president touched a nerve. He tried to back out of the ill-timed joke:
I’m just saying. He’s going to have to change the color of his sox. I didn’t think I’d get any boos out of here. But I guess I should not have brought up baseball.
That didn’t stop the jeering crowd either. Finally the president said, “My mistake. You’ve got to know your crowd.”
It took one woman yelling out, “We still love you!” to break the humorous tension in the room. The crowd laughed and the president moved on to his stump speech and standing ovations.
But yes, Mr. President, you’ve got to know your crowd.
*Reporter note: There was some debate in the room among the reporters – and some pushback today from press secretary Jay Carney – as to whether people were booing or chanting Youk! Youk! Frankly, it sounded like booing to me, and whoever did the official White House transcript thought so, too.
**Ill just apologize now for spelling it sluggah.
(Photo: @bmw/Flickr/Creative Commons)