Right-Wing Media's “Lazy” Attack On Obama Called Out

The right-wing media have attacked President Obama for commenting at a conference that “we've been a little bit lazy” about attracting foreign investment in America, claiming that he is “attacking Americans.” However, several independent analysts have said that this line of attack takes Obama's comments out of context and that the president “wasn't calling Americans lazy.”

After President Obama Called For Making Foreign Investment In The American Economy Easier...

Obama Touts Role In Organizing Government To “Make It Easier For Foreign Investors” To Invest In America. Asked a question by a CEO at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit about impediments to foreign investment in the United States, President Obama responded:

OBAMA: Well, this is an issue, generally. I think it's important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity -- our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.

But we've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We've kind of taken for granted -- well, people will want to come here and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America. And so one of things that my administration has done is set up something called SelectUSA that organizes all the government agencies to work with state and local governments where they're seeking assistance from us, to go out there and make it easier for foreign investors to build a plant in the United States and put outstanding U.S. workers back to work in the United States of America.

And we think that we can do much better than we're doing right now. Because of our federalist system, sometimes a foreign investor comes in and they've got to navigate not only federal rules, but they've also got to navigate state and local governments that may have their own sets of interests. Being able to create if not a one-stop shop, then at least no more than a couple of stops for people to be able to come into the United States and make investments, that's something that we want to encourage. [WhiteHouse.gov, 11/12/11]

... The Right-Wing Media Slammed Him For Insulting America

Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft: “Obama Insults America ... Again.” Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft wrote of Obama's comments, “Obama insults America ... again.” [Gateway Pundit, 11/13/11]

Fox's Todd Starnes: Obama “Took The Nation To Task ... For Being Lazy.” In a blog post that was posted on Fox Nation, Todd Starnes wrote:

President Obama took the nation to task today for being lazy.

The comments came during a meeting between the president and CEOs attending the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. The United States is hosting this year's gathering in Hawaii.


It's not the first time the president has accused Americans of being lazy. [Fox News Radio via Fox Nation, 11/14/11]

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey: “According To Barack Obama, We're All Just Too Lazy To Recover.” Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey wrote:

After almost three years of Obamanomics, the American economy still hasn't shown any signs of sustained, substantial recovery. The pattern of post-war recoveries shows a move to massive job growth long before our point in the time line. Whose fault is it? According to Barack Obama, we're all just too lazy to recover:


The problem isn't that America is lazy. It's that we picked bad leadership in 2008. [Hot Air, 11/14/11]

Fox Anchor Martha MacCallum: “Obama Scolding America Once Again.” Introducing a segment on President Obama's comments, America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum said “President Obama [is] scolding America once again.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 11/14/11]

NRO's Lowry: Obama's Comments Demonstrate “An Undercurrent Of Contempt For His Own Country.” During the November 14 segment on America's Newsroom, National Review Online's Rich Lowry said: “There have been a series of statements over the last several weeks, Martha. We've become lazy, we've gone soft, we lack imagination. Well there's really an undercurrent of contempt for his own country.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 11/14/11]

Limbaugh: “Once Again,” Obama “Insults The People Who Make This Country Work.” Discussing Obama's comments, Rush Limbaugh said:

LIMBAUGH: Who is “we” ? Once again, the president of the United States insults the people who make this country work. What has and hasn't happened to make these mystery people lazy? Who is it that's lazy? Who is it that's not trying to attract business to America? Who is it that's just expecting, taking for granted that people are gonna come here? We aren't out there hungry, selling America. No, we're not, because you, sir, are out there apologizing for us at every turn. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/14/11]

Fox's Kilmeade Suggests Comment Shows Obama Is “Determined To Bring Us Down.” Co-hosting Fox News' The Five, Brian Kilmeade said: “I will say this. The fact that the President of the United States has called us soft, we've lost our competitive edge, and now we're called lazy. ... He's trying desperately to flatten out our country, and defuse us, and get us off our high horse. Why is he so determined to bring us down?” [Fox News, The Five, 11/14/11]

Pam Geller: “His Animus Towards America Knows No Bounds.” Right-wing blogger Pamela Geller wrote of Obama's comments: “His animus towards America knows no bounds. He speaks, and it's like nails on a chalkboard. He so doesn't get America.” [Atlas Shrugs, 11/14/11]

Krauthammer: Obama's Comment Shows “Ill-Concealed Contempt” For America. On Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said: “Well no one's asking him to go out there and be a jingoistic cheerleader, but when you call your own country lazy when you're abroad and you call it unambitious and soft when you're home, I think what you're showing is not tough love, but ill-concealed contempt.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 11/14/11]

Hannity: “This Is Not The First Time” Obama Has “Kind Of Attacked The American People.” During an interview with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Sean Hannity asked:

HANNITY: What do you make of the President? This is not the first time that he's kind of attacked the American people, that you know, the people are a little bit lazy, he spoken a while back about them getting soft, we lost our ambition, our imagination. What do you make of that? Are the American people not smart enough to accept his goodness and greatness? [Fox News, Hannity, 11/15/11, via Nexis]

Independent Analysts Say Obama Was Taken Out Of Context

AP: Ad Saying Obama “Thinks” That “Americans Are Lazy” Actually “Takes Obama's Comment Out Of Context.” Beth Fouhy, political reporter for the Associated Press, reported that a campaign ad by Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry using Obama's comments takes them “out of context” :

Obama was speaking to a group of CEOs about the challenges of attracting foreign investment in the U.S., not about individuals or their economic challenges.

Perry is using the comment to portray Obama as out of touch, even contemptuous, of ordinary Americans. [Associated Press, 11/16/11]

NBC's Mark Murray: Obama “Wasn't Calling Americans Lazy.” NBC News political director Mark Murray wrote:

It has become the new Republican attack on President Obama: He thinks Americans are lazy.


But when you examine what Obama said on Saturday -- to business leaders at the APEC summit in Hawaii -- it's pretty clear that his critics are taking him out of context. He wasn't calling Americans lazy; rather, he was calling U.S. business practices to attract foreign investors lazy. In fact, you could interpret his full remarks as a call to arms to improve on that front. [MSNBC.com, First Read, 11/16/11]

ABC's Devin Dwyer: Attacks On Obama “Distorts” His Comments. ABC News White House producer Devin Dwyer wrote that an ad by Perry featuring Obama's comments “distorts” what he said:

“Can you believe that? That's what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are lazy? That's pathetic,” Perry says in the spot that's airing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The only problem: the full context of Obama's remarks made Saturday during a meeting of CEOs in Honolulu indicates he wasn't suggesting that at all.

Boeing CEO James McNerney asked Obama about his thinking on the perception by some countries of “impediments to investment” in the U.S.

Obama replied that “we've been a little bit lazy” about actively trying to attract private foreign investors to U.S. soil -- referring broadly to American government and business sectors, not the American people themselves. [ABCNews.com, Political Punch, 11/16/11]