WASHINGTON — Is “C’mon, man” President Barack Obama’s new “Yes, We Can?”
The president is deploying the phrase “c’mon, man” to great — and sometimes humorous — effect in the midst of an aggressive burst of campaigning to help elect Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
Those three little words are helping Obama convey what the White House says is his frustration with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers in Congress.
And just as “Yes, We Can” became a rallying cry during Obama’s presidential campaigns, so has “C’mon, man” become one during this campaign — Obama’s last one.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Friday, Obama railed against Trump backers who the president said make excuses or justify things the New York businessman has said that would be “completely disqualifying” for another candidate.
“We hear people justifying it and making excuses about it and saying, ‘Well, you know, he didn’t really mean it,’ or ‘it’s locker-room talk,’ or ‘well, maybe he did mean it but as long as he supports tax cuts for the rich’ or ‘as long as he supports doing the things we want to do, it’s OK,”’ Obama said.
“C’mon man,” he added, riling up the crowd. “We can’t be thinking somehow that just because he agrees with you on some policy issue or just because you’re frustrated with government that it’s OK to display the kind of behaviour he displays.”
Urbandictionary.com says “c’mon, man” is what a person would say to someone who says or does something stupid.
A day earlier in Miami, Obama criticized Trump for being so thin-skinned that he can’t take the ribbing of a “Saturday Night Live” skit.
“This is a guy who, like, tweets they should cancel ‘Saturday Night Live’ — ‘I don’t like how Alec Baldwin is imitating me.’ Really?” Obama said. “I mean, that’s the thing that bothers you, and you want to be president of the United States? C’mon, man. C’mon,” as the audience applauded its approval.
People attending the get-out-the-vote rallies Obama has been headlining in key states this week for Clinton, his former secretary of state, are noticing.
In Miami, an audience member didn’t miss the beat as Obama complained about Republican obstructionism. He said he sometimes proposes GOP ideas to Republicans to get their reaction, which often is that they can’t support anything he’s for, even if the idea first came from a Republican.
“C’mon, man!” the person yelled.
To which Obama replied back, “C’mon, man!”
Asked whether “C’mon, man” is Obama’s new, “Yes, We Can,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said: “I think it’s trending.”
The phrase is also the name of a regular feature on ESPN, one of Obama’s favourite TV networks. Schultz said it “sums up the frustration that not only the president has, but that a lot of voters have.”
As an example, Schultz criticized some Republican senators for now pledging to block any Supreme Court nominee Clinton would put forward, if she is elected. They blocked Obama’s pick for the high court this year on grounds that the next president — not one in his final months — should get to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last February.