Scarborough on Obama's "dainty" bowling performance: "Americans want their president, if it's a man, to be a real man"

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist repeatedly mocked Sen. Barack Obama's bowling performance -- which Scarborough called "dainty" -- at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. Deriding Obama's score, Scarborough said: "You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it's a man, to be a real man." He added, "You get 150, you're a man, or a good woman," to which Geist replied, "Out of my president, I want a 150, at least." After guest Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama's bowling showed a "humble" and "human" side to him, Scarborough replied, "A very human side? A prissy side."

During the March 31 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist repeatedly mocked Sen. Barack Obama's bowling performance -- which Scarborough called "dainty" -- at a March 29 campaign stop at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Deriding Obama's score, he said: "You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it's a man, to be a real man." Scarborough added, "You get 150, you're a man, or a good woman," to which Geist replied, "Out of my president, I want a 150, at least."

Later in the show, after NBC political analyst Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama's bowling showed a "humble" and "human" side to him, Scarborough replied, "A very human side? A prissy side." Ford asserted that Obama, who reportedly plays pick-up basketball, is a "heck of an athlete." Later, Scarborough acknowledged: "I'll challenge him to a bowl-off. But basketball -- he looks like he's in pretty good shape. I would just have to post low." Switching to football, Ford also said to Scarborough: "I'd throw him a pass on you, too. I've seen you. I think he could probably take you down the sideline on a post route."

According to reports by MSNBC's First Read and Salon.com, Obama played seven frames and left with a score of 37. Additionally, on Morning Joe, Obama campaign spokesman David Axelrod noted that Obama did not play all 10 frames. Nevertheless, on the March 31 edition of MSNBC Live, Tamron Hall claimed: "Mr. Obama scored a 37 when he hit the lanes this weekend. And yes, he bowled all 10 frames. That's impossible."

From the March 31 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: You know, Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it's a man, to be a real man. They -- 1984, I remember Ronald Reagan goes to South Boston. He holds up that beer mug --

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: -- in that South Boston pub, and everybody's like, "He's a real man," and I guess Barack Obama's trying to do the same thing, too.

BRZEZINSKI: Stop it. Oh, come on.

SCARBOROUGH: Awful. Good Lord.

GEIST: He's going to have to try a little harder than he did in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night --

SCARBOROUGH: Oh my God --

BRZEZINSKI: Really?

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, this is awful.

GEIST: -- at the Pleasant Valley Rec Center. He went bowling, and let's just take a quick look at it here. I guess I'll just give you the final numbers. Started out nicely, got the Velcro shoes.

BRZEZINSKI: Looking good, looking good.

GEIST: But then he started bowling. The score you're really after in bowling is 300; that's a perfect score.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, OK.

SCARBOROUGH: That's perfect score.

BRZEZINSKI: Good, good, good.

SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, if you get 200, you're a good bowler.

GEIST: Sure. You know what?

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. Two-fifty --

SCARBOROUGH: You get 150, you're a man --

BRZEZINSKI: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: -- or a good woman.

BRZEZINSKI: Stop it.

GEIST: Out of my president, I want a 150, at least. Barack Obama bowled -- well, you can see his form here --

[video clip of Obama bowling]

SCARBOROUGH: Hee!

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

GEIST: A 37.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh.

GEIST: That's a three, next to a seven.

SCARBOROUGH: Baby, if you go to Altoona, Pennsylvania, on a Saturday night and you're going to try to bowl --

[video clip of Obama bowling]

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that's so dainty. Ugh.

GEIST: Get there, get there.

SCARBOROUGH: What a dainty --

GEIST and SCARBOROUGH: Oh!

BRZEZINSKI: A gutter ball, that's like me bowling.

SCARBOROUGH: That is such a dainty release.

GEIST: If you're the president, you want -- you don't want them to have to put those bumpers in the gutters.

SCARBOROUGH: Look, here we go, look at this. OK.

BRZEZINSKI: All right now.

[video clip of Obama bowling]

[Scarborough squeals]

GEIST: Oh, it's like a children's birthday party.

BRZEZINSKI: OK, guys.

SCARBOROUGH: I've got a feeling he --

BRZEZINSKI: That was useless and stupid and [unintelligible].

SCARBOROUGH: -- he didn't go bowling in Cambridge that much. That's a guy that's been studying a lot of -- reading a lot of books.

[...]

FORD: One thing I thought he did a great job of this week -- he's done a lot of great things but --

SCARBOROUGH: Not bowling.

FORD: No.

SCARBOROUGH: Have you ever bowled before, Harold?

FORD: I do, I have.

SCARBOROUGH: You ever bowl?

FORD: I'm embarrassed to say, but I do.

BRZEZINSKI: Harold, make your point.

FORD: My other point is just --

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, I'm curious. If you were running for president in Altoona, Pennsylvania --

FORD: They can walk him through --

SCARBOROUGH: He got a 37 --

FORD: -- feed milk to him --

SCARBOROUGH: Harold, he got a 37 bowling in Altoona, Pennsylviania.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, Harold.

GEIST: So sorry.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

FORD: He probably shouldn't do that again, but I tell you, it showed a human side to him. I mean, it showed a very humble side to him.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, yeah, yeah, yeah.

BRZEZINSKI: He is a politician.

SCARBOROUGH: A very human side? A prissy side.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, stop it. Now, that's just not nice.

SCARBOROUGH: Anyway, make your point.

FORD: He's a heck of an athlete, by the way.

SCARBOROUGH: Is he really?

FORD: Actually, heck of an athlete.

SCARBOROUGH: It sure didn't look it, the way that he was just --

BRZEZINSKI: Oh my God.

SCARBOROUGH: He was pushing it this way, right there.

BRZEZINSKI: You have to take it and run with it, Harold.

FORD: But he looked like -- I mean, he looked like folks, he looked like an American. A Pennsylvanian -- he looked like someone, day in and day out --

[crosstalk]

BRZEZINSKI: No, no, no.

SCARBOROUGH: He was bowling in his tie --

FORD: -- except the bowling. The bowling hurt it.

BRZEZINSKI: Harold, take my advice.

FORD: The bowling -- I mean, I thought it was 137. You sure it was 37?

SCARBOROUGH: It was 37. That is awful.

BRZEZINSKI: You have to -- there is no way. There is no way out of this one.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: So Harold, so Harold, though --

FORD: He's my buddy. I can't believe you make me laugh at --.

SCARBOROUGH: But you say he's a good athlete?

BRZEZINSKI: He's a dancer.

[crosstalk]

FORD: He's a heck of a basketball player.

SCARBOROUGH: Is he really?

FORD: Heck of a basketball player.

SCARBOROUGH: OK.

FORD: As a matter of fact, I spent a little time with his brother-in-law over the weekend who can also play.

BRZEZINSKI: I'd think you'd have a hard time against him --

SCARBOROUGH: How tall is he?

FORD: How tall is Barack?

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah.

FORD: Barack's probably 6'2".

SCARBOROUGH: Really?

FORD: 6'2", 6'3", yeah. He's a big guy.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: Well then, I better be quiet because --

FORD: Yeah, probably.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, I think you should.

SCARBOROUGH: I mean, I'm bigger than he is.

BRZEZINSKI: I still think you should be quiet.

FORD: You should reach out to a bowl-off.

SCARBOROUGH: I'll challenge him to a bowl-off. But basketball -- he looks like he's in pretty good shape. I would just have to post low.

GEIST: Right.

FORD: And I'd throw him a pass on you, too. I've seen you. I think he could probably take you down the sideline on a post route.

BRZEZINSKI: Oh no. Please don't, don't don't don't go there. You didn't just do this.

[crosstalk]

SCARBOROUGH: Wait, wait. I'm sorry? You talking football now?

BRZEZINSKI: Guys --

FORD: I mean, that's one sport y'all can still play at Florida --

[crosstalk]

SCARBOROUGH: I've got 5 yards.

BRZEZINSKI: Harold?

SCARBOROUGH: I've got 5 yards, bump and run. He's not going down the field.

FORD: Oh, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what my nickname was in college?

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, Lord, help me.

SCARBOROUGH: The "Round Mound of Rebound." On the basketball court, you just go low and lean.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, well, 15 million Big Macs later, I don't think that name applies, honey.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Let's bring in right now David Axelrod, he's chief strategist for the Obama campaign. David, we have to ask a question, what did you know, when did you know it --

BRZEZINSKI: And what were you thinking?

SCARBOROUGH: What were you thinking? Why did you allow your candidate to bowl a 37 in Altoona, Pennsylvania? America waits for your answer, sir.

AXELROD: Well, if you're going to bowl a 37, Altoona's a good a place as any, Joe. No, listen. I think it was tremendously insightful of the candidate not to try and show up any of the other bowlers there.

SCARBOROUGH: I'll tell you what --

AXELROD: I mean, that's the kind of political sophistication that you want --

GEIST: There you go.

AXELROD: What's worse, I mean, listen, what made that worse was that right after that, Hillary Clinton revealed that she had bowled a 300 with the prime minister of Uzbekistan. So --

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, here we go.

[crosstalk]

BRZEZINSKI: Oh, that's harsh [unintelligible]. David --

SCARBOROUGH: I'll tell you what, that is some spin, my man.

BRZEZINSKI: No, you didn't.

SCARBOROUGH: First of all, you say he got the 37. That's why he gets the big bucks. He says --

AXELROD: So he didn't bowl 10 frames, Joe. He didn't bowl 10 frames, and as he's proven, he's a strong finisher.

SCARBOROUGH: Oh, OK.

AXELROD: So --

BRZEZINSKI: No. David?

AXELROD: Let's put the whole thing in perspective.

From the 10 a.m. ET hour of the March 31 edition of MSNBC Live:

HALL: Well, Barack Obama -- his friends say he's a whiz on the basketball court and he can hold his own on the dance floor -- and he's got a gift, of course, for speaking. But one thing Barack Obama cannot do, and I think it's official -- he can't bowl. Mr. Obama scored a 37 when he hit the lanes this weekend. And yes, he bowled all 10 frames. That's impossible. Well, voters in Pennsylvania will give him some pointers for his effort.

Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Joe Scarborough, Tamron Hall, Willie Geist
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live, Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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