Comedian Larry Wilmore

Comedian Larry Wilmore

The White House is apparently not offended by the use of the N-word for President Obama, at least not when it comes from a black comedian, but radio titan Rush Limbaugh is.

Comic Larry Wilmore uncorked a slang version of the racial slur at the White House Correspondents’ dinner Saturday night, when he told Obama: “Yo Barry, you did it my n**ga. You did it.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he had talked to Obama about Wilmore’s use of the word and said the president told him “he appreciated the spirit of Mr. Wilmore’s expression Saturday night,” the Washington Examiner reported.

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“I’m confident that Mr. Wilmore used the word by design. He was seeking to be provocative,” Earnest said. “Any reading of his comments made clear that he was not using the president as a butt of a joke.”


But among those objecting greatly to use of the N-word for the president is radio’s Rush Limbaugh.

“How is that advancing anything?” Limbaugh said on his national broadcast Monday, noting it was more than just a joke.

“It’s indicative that there isn’t much respect for the office of the presidency. Remember, these guys in the media are Obama’s buddies. These are his friends doing this. This, to me, was just a huge, huge hit on the integrity and the moral force and authority that has been lost by this White House.”

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Limbaugh continued:

The moral authority in this White House has long ago vanished. But this was just another indication here of how things have not gotten better in any of the ways people hoped. I mean, the economy for everybody’s bad, don’t misunderstand. The economy, the job circumstance, circumstances for everybody…

In day-to-day life there’s more and more misery, more and more unhappiness, more and more anxiety, more and more fear. But you look at the unemployment rate in the African-American communities. You look at the unemployment rate for African-American teenagers. You look at the murder rate for African-Americans. The black-on-black crime? You look at that and there’s nobody anywhere that can statistically – or any other way – tell you that things have gotten better. And I’m just wanting to remind you why so many people voted for Obama. …

Barack Obama’s legacy is what, after seven and a half years? “Yo, Barry, you did it. You my [N-slang word]!” After seven and a half years, if I were Barack Hussein O and Michelle (My Belle) Obama, I would be livid — if I took what I did in life seriously – to have it all reduced, in a tribute (that was the tribute portion of the comedy act) to, “Yo, Barry, you did it! You my … ” Seven-and-a-half years, and that’s what it’s all meant. Really?

The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart also hammered Wilmore for the performance.

“But never before has the n-word been used to address the president. At least, not in public and most definitely not to his face. That’s why Wilmore’s use of it was as shocking as it was disrespectful. And that’s why many African Americans in the room and watching on television were appalled by Wilmore’s excessive and inappropriate down-home familiarity with the leader of the free world in front of the world,” Capehart wrote.

After Saturday’s dinner, the Rev. Al Sharpton said he thought Wilmore’s use of the word was “at best in poor taste.”

However, “Saturday Night Live” cast member Sasheer Zamata, tweeted, “This is the blackest correspondents dinner ever and I LOVE it.”

“This is a tough assignment,” Earnest said of Wilmore’s job, which was at a dinner at which comedians are “going to get much closer to the line than they ordinarily would.”

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