March 20, 2009 at 07:37 PM EDT

In the wake of President Obama’s generally pleasant, at times even giggly Tonight Show appearance Thursday night, the media’s currently flipping out over the president’s unexpected reference to the Special Olympics. The leader of the free world jokingly told Jay Leno that he’d bowled a 129 at the White House’s private alley, adding, “That was like the Special Olympics or something.” The president remains horrified at the gaffe; before the segment aired last night, he called chairman of the Special Olympics Tim Shriver from Air Force One. “He expressed his disappointment and he apologized in a way that wasvery moving. He expressed that he did not intend to humiliate thispopulation,” Shriver said Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America. Obama also invited Special Olympics athletes to visit the White House to bowl or play basketball.

Personally, I think it was a ridiculously dumb thing to say, but I was over it in about 10 seconds (and this is coming from someone who scored a woeful 66 in an NYC media bowling league on Wednesday night). The bigger issue to consider, maybe, is whether presidents should be going on talk shows at all. Were a few successful jokes worth this memorable giant cringe? Let us know what you think in the poll below.


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