President Obama was such a sure-footed speaker on the White House trail when running for president.
I suspect an evil doppleganger has taken over since he has occupied the Oval Office.
Saturday was another day of a White House trying to recover from foot in mouth disease.
Obama's enthusiastic backing for a mosque near Ground Zero went over like flatulence in a crowded elevator.
The White House press operation was desperately trying to row back today, saying Obama was speaking as a general principle, not in a specific way.
But it wasn't working
It was surely an issue Obama did not need to stray into for his party's sake.
Now every Democrat from Vermont to the Virgin Islands is going to be asked the dreaded question-- Do you stand with the president on the right to have a mosque built next to Ground Zero?
The question was largely a local one up to now , best handled by New York politicians, but Obama has now made it a national debate.
It is one that on a visceral level Democrats know they can't win and they must be wondering why Obama even addressed it.
I cannot say that I endorse the mosque so close to the sacred ground that is Ground Zero.
I am no fan of the Muslim religion and how it treats women to begun with.
I respect their right to practice, but would not allow a Japanese Shinto site near Pearl Harbor either.
Obama's people tried to draw a comparison with opposition to Irish emigrants building churches when they came to America, but Irish emigrants never set out to destroy New York or plotted in their churches to do so.
Equally I don't think there should be a Catholic Church built next to Ground Zero,though I wager more Catholics, especially in fire and police departments, were killed that day than any other religion.
That is because Ground Zero belongs to everyone, because mankind must learn the lesson, not any single group. A mosque detracts from that reality.
Obama is displaying his inexperience and professorial haughtiness by lecturing Americans on the Ground Zero mosque.
He needs to feel their sense of rawness about that episode a little more.
A little Clinton empathy would have avoided this latest firestorm he has created.
Alas,he is looking more and more like a president who has lost his way when it comes to understanding what is in American's hearts and minds.
This Ground Zero mosque comment is the latest example.