Obama says he was unaware of Ryan’s presence “when I gave that speech.” But even if Obama was unaware of Ryan’s presence before he took the podium, if Ryan was sitting in the front row, Obama became aware “when he gave that speech.” And if he was unaware under such circumstances, then he is extraordinarily and pathologically out of it.
Obama then contradicts himself and says first that “we” didn’t know beforehand (that would probably include his staff, unless he’s using the royal we). Then he catches himself, perhaps because he recalls that in the Woodward book the author says that Ryan was specifically invited to the speech by Obama staffers. So Obama corrects himself and says “I” didn’t know—”until I arrived.”
So, which is it, Barack? Did you not know when you gave the speech, or did you become aware when you arrived?
Obama then goes on to add what I think is his most curious statement of all: he acts as though he had no power whatsoever to change his speech once he saw Ryan sitting there. Perhaps he’s correct. After all, his reliance on prepared remarks and the teleprompter is legendary. Even had he wanted to temper his remarks (which I do not for a moment believe), are we really to understand that he had no ability to ad lib and override his own speechmakers, and was forced to insult a man sitting in front of him because Obama is a preprogrammed robot who cannot adjust to circumstances?
Now, that’s quite an admission.