Using a common euphemism for penis, Time magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin said during MSNBC's Morning Joe program today that President Obama was a "@#$% yesterday," during his White House news conference.
Apparently, Halperin — a frequent guest on TV — didn't know his comment would be broadcast live. He may have thought it would be covered up by a "delay" switch that allows engineers to block inappropriate comments from being broadcast.
Halperin apologized on the air minutes later. And he's posted this message on his Twitter page:
"I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President and the viewers of Morning Joe.My remark was not funny.I deeply regret it."
Politico has video of Halperin's candid comment and later apology.
Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. Now that our friend David Folkenflik has so cleverly reported the word in question (see our previous update), it's OK to use it in the comments thread. It is, after all, newsworthy now. But don't refer to someone else by that word, please. Unless the person you're talking about happens to be named Dick, of course.
Update at 1:20 p.m. ET. As NPR's David Folkenflik tells our Newscast Desk:
"You can probably refer to President Dick Nixon, just that way, on live TV. Assuredly uttering the name of former vice President Dick Cheney would not get you in trouble. But when Time magazine editor at large Mark Halperin used a certain phallocentric synonym for jerk to characterize President Obama's demeanor during a press conference yesterday — it didn't end well."
Update at 10:50 a.m. ET. Statements From MSNBC And Halperin:
Statement from MSNBC:
"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the president, the White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst."
Statement from Mark Halperin:
"I completely agree with everything in MSNBC's statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate.
"Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it."
Update at 10:40 a.m. ET. Halperin Suspended: MSNBC says Halperin has been "suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst," HuffPost Media reports. Huffington's Michael Calderone adds that Halperin says MSNBC's action is "totally appropriate."