Sequester Wars: Obama’s Jedi mixup

President Barack Obama pause as he speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, Friday, March 1, 2013, following a meeting with congressional leaders regarding the automatic spending cuts. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

It started with an offhand comment by President Barack Obama at a White House press conference on the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.


Sequester Wars: Obama’s Jedi mixup

It started with an offhand comment by President Barack Obama at a White House press conference on the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.

Storified by Digital First Media· Fri, Mar 01 2013 10:48:05

This is what the president said: 

“I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that, somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable — that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal — the fact that they don’t take it means that I should, somehow, you know, do a Jedi mindmeld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”
The reaction was swift.

Obama had conflated the Jedi mind trick from “Star Wars”

Jedi mind trickkayllen2000

With the Vulcan mind-meld from “Star Trek”

Spock melds with Kirk/Janiceiusedtobeawizard

This. Would. Not. Do.

BREAKING: The President has apparently conflated Star Wars & Star Trek. it’s a Jedi mind trick and Vulcan mind meld.Ari Shapiro
So now Obama is pitting Star Wars geeks vs. Star Trek geeks with his "Jedi mind meld" comment? When will he stop dividing this country?Jon Ralston
Obama just said "Jedi mindmeld." What’s next, Klingon lightsabers? #Shame #Impeachrob delaney
(Note: These people are being sarcastic.)

Still, some worried about the reference

Especially given that J.J. Abrams, director of the recent “Star Wars” reboot, has been called on to direct an upcoming “Star Wars” movie.

Paging J.J. Abrams RT @DavidCornDCHey, Hollywood, can we merge Star Trek and Star Wars? Is Obama on to something? #BoxOfficeBoffo!Shane Goldmacher
Meanwhile, out in Hollywood, J.J. Abrams jumps out of his chair. "Jedi Mind Meld is a FANTASTIC idea!"jimgeraghty
Even Abrams’ old colleague from the TV show “Lost,” Damon Lindelof, got in on the action.
Obama just said "Jedi Mindmeld." That sound you heard was Picard face-palming.Damon Lindelof

It was a moment made for Twitter

After Obama says "Jedi Mind Meld" "Star Wars and Star Trek," "Vulcan," and #jedimindmeld all trending on DC Twitter. #NerdsRuntheWorldDavid Crockett
And the Associated Press, apparently.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Obama says he can’t do ‘Jedi mind meld’ and persuade Republican leaders to do what’s right.Ken Thomas
Possibly the best ever AP slug: BC-US–Obama-Jedi MindmeldMichael van Poppel

Some defended the president, citing obscure “Star Wars” books: 

Not a mixed reference: There is a Jedi Mind Meld, apparently: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Force_meldGarance Franke-Ruta

While others sought to take credit: 

Me on Obama and Jedi mind control http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/02/weird-philosophy-of-bob-woodward.htmlJonathan Chait
From that piece: 
“Fellow venerable reporter Ron Fournier has been insisting that Obama ought to somehow mind-control Republicans into accepting higher revenue. “His aides and allies will ask, ”Exactly what can he do to get the GOP to deal?,”‘ writes Fournier, ‘That is a question best put to the president, a skilled and well-meaning leader elected to answer the toughest questions.’ Hypnosis! Jedi mind tricks! Whatever!”

At any rate, Obama is a fan of “Star Trek”

Ok, let’s do it: Leonard Nimoy, 2010: "I know for sure he’s a Star Trek fan," b/c Obama made the Vulcan sign the first time they metEdward-Isaac Dovere
Taken 2/29/12 in the Oval Office – Live Long & Prosper!RealNichelle

And “Star Wars”

Wired
(AP)

So it was most likely a slip of the tongue. Unless…

Sometimes I think President Obama wakes up, turns to Michelle and says, "I’m gonna trend on twitter today." #jedi #mindmeldmike schaub

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