Political Headlines May 30, 2012: Poland Seeks Stronger Apology After President Barack Obama Misspoke with “Polish Death Camps” Comment at Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Factson File, Inc. in 2011.

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: POLAND SEEKS STRONGER APOLOGY AFTER PRESIDENT OBAMA MISSPOKE WITH ‘POLISH DEATH CAMPS’ COMMENT

White House Says President Misspoke on ‘Polish Death Camp': The explanation by the White House does not seem to satisfy outraged Polish officials…. – NYT, 5-30-12

Q On one other subject. The Polish Prime Minister says he’s not completely satisfied with the White House explanation of the President’s reference to Polish death camps. Does the President have any plans to call Prime Minister Tusk and offer an explanation?

MR. CARNEY: The President misspoke. He was referring to Nazi death camps in German-occupied Poland. And as we’ve made clear, we regret the misstatement and that simple misstatement should not at all detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski, and beyond that, all those brave Polish citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny.

On several occasions, including his visit last year to the Warsaw Ghetto memorial, his remarks at the Holocaust Museum just last month, and his video message at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, President Obama has paid tribute to the terrible loss of innocent Poles in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

Again, we regret the misstatement, but that’s what it was. It was a misstatement, and I think it’s important to see this in the context of awarding this medal in honor of the remarkable bravery of Mr. Karski and other brave Polish citizens who stood on the side, as I said, of human dignity in the face of the 20th century’s most terrible tyranny.

  • Polish Leader Attacks Obama for Saying ‘Polish Death Camps': On May 28 of last year, President Obama stood next to Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland in Warsaw and declared he would support new rules to help more Poles get tourist visas to the United States…. – NYT, 5-30-12
  • Poland seeking stronger apology after Obama’s ‘death camps’ remark: The Polish prime minister is demanding a “stronger, more pointed response” from President Obama after he referred to “Polish death camps” during a White House ceremony Tuesday. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday…. – LAT, 5-30-12
  • Poles outraged over Obama’s words on death camps: Poland’s leaders said Wednesday they weren’t completely satisfied with a White House explanation that President Barack Obama misspoke when he referred to “Polish death camps”…. – AP, 5-30-12
  • ‘US apology for ‘death camp’ remarks insufficient': Embassy spokesman ‘surprised’ that US leader would misidentify Nazi camps as ‘Polish’ in speech honoring resistance fighter Jan Karski… US President Barack Obama’s use of the term “Polish death camps”… – JPost, 5-30-12
  • White House: Obama regrets calling Nazi death camps in Poland, Polish: The White House said President Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish war hero. The president’s remark had drawn immediate complaints from Poles who said Obama should have called it…. – CBS News, 5-31-12 
  • Poland seeking stronger apology after Obama’s ‘death camps’ remark: The Polish prime minister is demanding a “stronger, more pointed response” from President Obama after he referred to “Polish death camps” during a White House ceremony Tuesday. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday…. – LAT, 5-30-12
  • White House: Obama misspoke by referring to ‘Polish death camp': The White House said President Barack Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish war hero. The president’s remark had drawn immediate complaints from Poles who said Obama should have called … WaPo, 5-29-12
  • Poles angered by Obama’s words on ‘Polish death camps': Poles are expressing outrage at President Barack Obama for referring to “Polish death camps” during a ceremony honoring a World War II hero but some say they hope the blunder will help clarify the sensitive issue to the world…. – WaPo, 5-30-12
  • Obama attracts criticism over ‘Polish death camp’ gaffe: US President Barack Obama referred to a “Polish death camp” on Tuesday during a ceremony at the White House while awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a Polish war hero. A White House spokesman said the president “misspoke”….. – BBC News, 5-30-12
  • White House apologises after Obama ‘Polish death camp’ blunder: The White House’s National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor has said “the president misspoke” after Barack Obama mentioned “Polish death camps” while posthumously awarding Jan Karski, a Polish resistance fighter during World War II…. thenews.pl, 5-30-12
  • Get your words right: President Obama’s ugly gaffe Tuesday has Poland’s media and politicians in a tizzy. It’s no wonder, Poles don’t like being held responsible for Nazi crimes, and terms such as “Polish death camp” risk doing just that. The matter isn’t trivial. Warsaw Business Journal, 5-30-12
  • Polish PM blasts Barack Obama’s death camp statement for its ‘ignorance, lack knowledge bad intentions: America’s liberal ‘mainstream’ media has largely ignored the diplomatic firestorm which has resulted from Barack Obama’s reference to a “Polish death camp” at a White House awards ceremony yesterday…. – Telegraph.co.uk, 5-30-12
  • Poles outraged by Obama’s reference to ‘Polish death camp': President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to former Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld who is accepting for Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, during a ceremony in the East Room…. Chicago Sun-Times, 5-30-12
  • President Obama’s Medal for Karski Shines Light on Poland’s Real World War II: President Obama’s Presidential Medal of Freedom for Jan Karski shows how far Poles went to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. After escaping Soviet imprisonment and being savagely tortured by the Gestapo, Karski still risked his life to sneak past…. – Huff Post, 5-29-12
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