Obama: It's Not About the "F***ing" Light Bulbs!

angry obama f-ing light bulbs collective photo

Photo: Getty

Now that the election is over, some illuminating campaign trail gems are sneaking out. Apparently, Sarah Palin's clothing spending spree was much worse than first thought, John McCain's senior advisors privately knew he was finished by the third debate, and both campaigns were attacked by hackers.

Oh, and Obama is sick and tired of having to save the planet by switching to energy-efficient bulbs. During the primaries, Newsweek overheard a very unscripted Obama talking about the debates:

I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'.

It's not the cool-headed, feel-good, yes-we-can Obama poetry that coursed through the campaign; it reminds me more of the inspirational but cautious words the President-elect used on election night.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's the yet-to-be-seen mad-as-hell-about-climate-change-and-I'm-not-gonna-take-it-anymore Obama. And, after eight years of stonewalling sound climate policy as the earth grows warmer (not to mention the giant mess he's inherited) we couldn't fault Obama for losing his cool.

So what exactly does Obama mean by "collective"? (It's easy to imagine the GOP taking Obama to task for that word choice.)

Obama is already sending envoys to climate talks in Poland, contemplating more sustainable energy and emissions strategies and thinking about climate policies in tandem with the rest of the world. At a conference on climate change and security the day after the election, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Obama was "fully aware" of America's responsibility. He went on -- without mentioning light bulbs: "Climate change is a challenge that we’ll rise to meet collectively or we will fail collectively."

We're pretty sure Obama's not against green choices in his or anyone's personal life, including compact florescent bulbs, which have been in use at the White House since Clinton, and will be the standard by the time incandescent bulbs are outlawed in 2012. (Though we do wonder how scandalized Capitol Hill efficiency maven Allison Rogers would be by Obama's remark, or at least his use of the f-word.)

Just in case anyone thought the country's political beacon might be a supporter of the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, or hated trees, or wanted to stop those damn enviromaniacs here's what he did tell Brian Williams about his personal climate change initiatives:

Williams: … what in your personal life, Senator Obama, have you done personally to make for a better environment? Personal life…

Obama: Well, you know, we just had Earth Day. And we actually organized 3,000 volunteers to plant trees, which…

Williams: I mean, like light bulbs…

Obama: Well…


I thought the tree thing was pretty good.

Williams: Well, yes, but…

Obama: We’ve also been working to install lightbulbs that last longer and save energy. And that’s something that I’m trying to teach my daughters, 8-year-old Malia and 5-year-old Sasha.

Newsweek via Good

Also on TreeHugger:

Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFLs):
Only in America: The "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act"
CFL Bulbs or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs: Energy Savings, Mercury, Recycling and More
Obama on Climate
Canada, Germany Want to Work With Obama on Climate Change
Obama Says Climate Change Is Real, Will Hire Gore
Barack Obama Faces Environmental Clean Up After Two Centuries of Bingeing: Bill McKibben