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West MTV awards act provokes Obama

Rapper Kanye West apologised personally to teenage country singer Taylor Swift two days after ruining her moment at the...

Written by Agencies | New York/los Angeles |
September 17, 2009 3:02:19 am

Rapper Kanye West apologised personally to teenage country singer Taylor Swift two days after ruining her moment at the MTV Video Music Awards,an indiscretion that provoked President Barack Obama to call him a “jackass”.

Obama’s comment came in the course of apparent banter with John Harwood of television network CNBC and The New York Times as they prepared for a political interview. It would seem Obama assumed what he said was off-the-record,and CNBC did not include it in the transcript of the interview it released.

However,Terry Moran,anchor of Nightline on rival network ABC,tweeted the news to his million-plus followers,and posted an audio copy of the transcript on its site.

According to an AP report quoting the transcript,Obama was asked whether his daughters were annoyed by West’s hijacking of Swift’s acceptance statement.

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“I thought that was really inappropriate,” Obama replied. “What are you butting in (for)?… The young lady… is getting her award. What’s he doing up there?”

A questioner chimed in,“Why would he do it?”

“He’s a jackass,” Obama replied,which was met with laughter from several people.

In his tweet,which has now been taken off,Moran said on Monday evening,“Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential.”


CNBC objected,and ABC News issued an apology soon afterward. “In the process of reporting on remarks by President Obama that were made during a CNBC interview,ABC News employees prematurely tweeted a portion of those remarks that turned out to be from an off-the-record portion of the interview,” the channel said. “…That was wrong. We apologise to the White House and CNBC…”

On Tuesday,West rang Swift to apologise for his behaviour at the MTV VMA. “He was very sincere in his apology and I accepted that apology,” the 19-year-old star told ABC News Radio.

Earlier,Swift had said on the ABC talk show The View that West’s invasion of the stage had shaken her up. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t rattled by it. I had to perform live five minutes later so I had to get myself back to the place where I could perform.”


At the Awards in New York on Sunday evening,West had snatched the microphone from Swift in the middle of her acceptance speech after winning for Best Female Video,and announced R&B star Beyonce should have won for “one of the best videos of all time”.

Swift is the biggest-selling artist of 2008 in the US with more than 4 million albums. West,who expressed regret over the incident twice before apologising personally to Swift,has had a history of inappropriate behaviour.

In 2005,in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans,West had said President George W Bush did not care about blacks. Earlier this year,he was charged with battery,theft and vandalism over a 2008 scuffle with paparazzi in Los Angeles.

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First published on: 17-09-2009 at 03:02:19 am

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