Yasser Arafat was known for giving very different speeches, depending on his audience. In English, he was able to fool enough people to win (disgracefully) a Nobel Peace Prize. In Arabic, he said what he really thought, and not much of it ever got translated.
I wouldn’t put President Obama in the same category as a two-faced politician, but this is a striking example of the same phenomenon:
It was bound to be interesting when Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos, in an interview with President Obama that was broadcast Sunday on Univision, asked why the president had used the term “illegal immigrants” when discussing his health plan in a speech two weeks ago to a joint session of Congress. It was the president’s statement that illegal immigrants would not be covered that provoked the infamous “You lied!” charge from South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson.
Ramos put his question this way: “Words are important. Why did you choose to use the language associated with those who criticize the immigrants?” …
The president took option A, offering Ramos this explanation: “I was addressing misinformation by the other side . . . I was essentially quoting them. I was saying, ‘For those of you who are saying that illegal immigrants are going to be covered under this plan,’ I said that’s not true. Right? So I am using their language because I was addressing the misinformation that they were providing.”
Here is Obama actually said in his speech to Congress. See whether you can catch any hint of the gloss that he tried to put on his words with Univision:
There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
Actually, the President’s seemingly unambiguous declaration was misleading on another level, too. The reason his plan won’t cover illegals is that once we enact “comprehensive immigration reform,” there won’t be any more illegals:
President Obama said this week that his health care plan won’t cover illegal immigrants, but argued that’s all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage. …
“If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all.”
You can’t fool all the people all the time, but I suppose Obama figures he only has to fool 51 percent.