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Obama Swims in Gulf — or Maybe Not

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By Doug Powers  •  August 15, 2010 10:35 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

A couple of days ago, President Obama said that he’d take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico to prove to America that the water in the Gulf was safe for swimming in the wake of the oil leak. He also said that there would be no press allowed in the area for his swim because the last time he took his shirt off with reporters around he ended up on a magazine cover that now doubles as wallpaper in Chris Matthews’ dressing room.

But maybe the White House didn’t want any press photographers around because the wrong angle would give away the fact that Obama wasn’t in the Gulf at all.

According to the White House website, Obama swam off Alligator Point, which is not in the Gulf, but rather in Saint Andrews Bay.

If Glenn Beck said he swam in the Gulf but was actually in the Bay, it would be splashed all over Media Matters by now. A good portion of the media didn’t care to do as much geographic parsing as they no doubt would have if they were writing about Bush:

Reuters: Obama swims in Gulf, says beaches open for business

AFP: Obama, daughter swim in Gulf in act of reassurance

CNN: Obama takes plunge, swims in Gulf

An Associated Press writer was one of the few to notice or care about the difference between the Gulf and the Bay:

The president’s dip happened away from the media. The White House released an official photo, but The Associated Press does not publish such handout images. According to the White House, the Obamas swam off Alligator Point, which is in Saint Andrew Bay, not the Gulf.

Swimming in the Bay instead of the Gulf was actually a wise move, because at the same time Obama was swimming in the Bay to prove it was safe to swim in the Gulf, eight miles away, a man who was swimming in the actual Gulf drowned (the Gulf beach was closed in that area due to a riptide).

Naturally, TOTUS 1 and TOTUS 2 accompanied the president to Florida in order to let Americans know that the Gulf is open for scripted rhetoric:

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(Thumbnail pic on main page from Weasel Zippers)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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