CNN is apologizing today after the cable news outlet confused Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with terrorist Osama bin Laden in on-screen graphics last night reading, “Where’s Obama?”
The error took place on Wolf Blitzer’s news program, “The Situation Room, ” and both Blitzer and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien offered separate apologies during the network’s morning show today.
CNN blamed its graphics department for what it called a “bad typographical error.”
“We want to apologize for that bad typo,” Blitzer said. “We also want to apologize personally to Sen. Barack Obama. I’m going to be making a call to him later this morning to offer my personal apology.”
According to the Associated Press, Tommy Vieto, Obama’s press secretary, said he appreciated the bloggers and activists who brought the error to light so quickly and helped make sure it was corrected.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., not Osama bin Laden
“Though I’d note that the ‘s’ and ‘b’ keys aren’t all that close to each other, I assume it was just an unfortunate mistake, and don’t think there was any truly malicious intent,” Vieto told AP.
This is not the first time Obama has been confused with Osama bin Laden.
Obama’s fellow Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts had trouble distinguishing the two at the National Press Club in January 2005.
Kennedy had given a speech and was asked a question, to which he responded: “There you go. Why don’t we just ask Osama bin Laden? Uh, Osama Obama! (giggles) Obama what is – since he won by such a big amount.”
Based on that verbal blunder by Kennedy, radio host Rush Limbaugh helped produce a parody song where a Kennedy soundalike was having great difficulty telling the difference between Obama and Osama.