Update at bottom: Beck apologizes for mocking Malia Obama
It took talk show host Glenn Beck all of two days to go from announcing that the families of politicians are a no-go zone for pundits -- to mocking 11-year-old Malia Obama on the air.
During a press conference Thursday, President Barack Obama highlighted public concern over the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster by recounting an anecdote in which his 11-year-old daughter Malia peeked her head around the door and asked, "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?"
It was a story meant to personalize the oil spill, and to highlight that even among his own family members, Obama is seen as being responsible for the response to the oil spill.
But for talk show host Glenn Beck, the comment was an opportunity to mock Malia and suggest the Obamas' education standards aren't up to snuff.
"That's the level of their education, that they're coming to ... daddy and saying 'Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?'" Beck said on his radio show Friday.
Beck launched into a surprisingly long skit with his co-host Pat Gray, imitating Malia Obama's voice as she asked a series of baffling questions of her "father."
"Daddy, why do you hate black people so much?" Beck as Malia asks at one point.
"I'm part white, honey," Gray responds as Obama.
In another segment, "Malia" says, "Daddy youre a puppet. did you know that? ... Mommy said your presidency is like a puppet show. Somebody has their hand in your back."
On Wednesday, Beck told his radio audience, "Leave peoples' families alone." He had been referring to the recent feud between Sarah Palin and her new next-door neighbor, author Joe McGinniss, who is writing a book about Palin.
"You don't go after Chelsea Clinton, you don't talk about the Bush kids," Beck said Wednesday.
But he added that "the minute they get into politics, that's a different story."
For some conservative commentators, the Obama children appear to be fair game. Last summer, the right-wing news forum Free Republic was criticized for allowing commenters to call Malia a "typical street whore" and "ghetto street trash" after she appeared in public wearing a peace sign.
UPDATE: BECK APOLOGIZES
Glenn Beck has apologized for the five-minute-long play-acting routine on his radio show Friday, in which he mocked President Obama's 11-year-old daughter, Malia.
In a statement on his Web site, Beck wrote:
In discussing how President Obama uses children to shield himself from criticism, I broke my own rule about leaving kids out of political debates. The children of public figures should be left on the sidelines. It was a stupid mistake and I apologize--and as a dad I should have known better.
The following audio was broadcast on The Glenn Beck Program, and was uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters.