(Arlington-TX) While appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", President Barack Obama's self-insult on his bowling skills, comparing it to the Special Olympics, raised the ire of Special Olympians and bowlers across the United States.
In response to the appearance, a rally was held today at the site of the new Bowling Museum in Arlington, Texas, set to open its doors or lanes early next year. Attended by bowlers and Special Olympians, it brought out bowling royalty like the legendary Don Carter.
The rally grew out of a statement made by the President half way through his spot. Host Leno asked if the President's bowling skills had improved since the 37 he bowled during his campaign. President Obama replied, "I have been practicing. I bowled a 129. It was like Special Olympics."
Though the Obama administration made an attempt at damage control by calling Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver before the episode of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was to air, the damage had been done.
Special Olympic bowling medal winner, Ralph "Splitz" Fenton, "Shows what he knows. Bowling a 129 won't even get you in the Special Olympics. What it will get you is in big trouble if you're the President. That's a joke. With his sense of humor, you have to explain it. Hey, Mr. President, maybe you should try out for the Special No Sense of Humor Olympics?"
Eighty-three year bowling legend old Don Carter stood by Fenton. "The kid with the flood pants is right. It doesn't matter if we don't have all the cans in the six pack or not, we're all bowlers. For too long bowling has been an easy joke sport. Well, I can tell you it's not. It's hard very hard." To which Fenton added, "And it takes balls." "The kid's funny and a kick-ass bowler," replied Carter.
Later in the rally, angry by bowlers, both Special Olympic and not, reached a boiling point when Fenton and Carter lead a group of 300, chosen as a symbol for a perfect score in bowling, to burn an effigy of President Obama with bowling bowl ball and shoes. Not having a fire permit, the burning was stopped when Arlington police were called. Both Carter and Fenton were taken away, amidst a crowd chant of "Attica, Attica" started by Carter.
Commenting on the events for the President, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said, "President Obama thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program. And while we all have our differences in this great land of ours, the President feels quoting a noted American is more apt than anything he could convey, 'Can we all just get along?'"