President Obama’s Many Forms of Anger

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An artist's depiction of what Obama may look like when he is angry. Photo: Illustration by Maya Robinson; Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/2012 AFP

On Meet the Press yesterday, David Axelrod insisted that President Obama was "apoplectic" about the GSA's Vegas party scandal. As far as we can tell, it was the very first time that Obama, who usually appears cool and calm in public, has been associated with apoplexy. However, states of extreme anger, or a synonym for extreme anger, are not uncommon for Obama, according to aides, news reports, and Obama himself. Herewith, a brief history:

Furious:

  • According to CBS News, "The White House has out the word that Mr. Obama was 'furious'" about the Air Force's low-altitute fly-by of the State of Liberty. 
  • The AP reported that, according to an official, "Obama was furious with Democrat Martha Coakley for what many in Washington saw as inept handling of a once-sure victory for the seat long held by Kennedy."

Incensed:

  • The Times reported that Obama was "incensed" that Israel "announced new Jewish housing units in Jerusalem during a visit to Israel by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr."

Outraged:

  • Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters that the "president is outraged" by North Korea’s attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong island.
  • Obama said in a speech the he was "outraged" that AIG was giving out "lavish bonuses."

Enraged:

  • Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that Obama was "enraged" at the time it took to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fuming Mad:

  • The AP reported that, also in response to the Air Force's fly-by of the Statue of Liberty, "White House officials said Obama was fuming mad."

Seething:

  • The Times reported that Obama was "seething" about Reverend Wright's rowdy National Press Club appearance. 
  • The Times claimed that Obama was "[s]eething about coverage that made it look as if the administration were protecting a dictator and ignoring the pleas of the youths of Cairo."

Irate:

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, "U.S. officials described President Barack Obama as 'livid' over the treatment of Mr. Biden in Jerusalem."

As far as we can tell, Obama has never been "mad as a wet hen."