Byron W. Brown chose to react the way that many subjects of flubbed lines have done since time immemorial, when President Obama flubbed his name today in a speech before thousands of spectators and hundreds of members of the media:
He took the graceful view of things.
“Clearly the president knows who we are,” the Buffalo mayor said, genially, in an interview with reporters minutes after Obama’s speech concluded inside the University at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena.
“I think it was just a slip of the tongue.”
At the beginning of his talk shortly after 11:15 a.m. today, Obama made a friendly reference to the elected officials in Buffalo and Western New York that he had met with at Buffalo Niagara International Airport and chatted with on his way to the arena.
He spoke of the mayor of Buffalo – and then named Brian Higgins.
Immediately, the audience in Alumni corrected the president, calling out Brown’s name and that Higgins was a congressman.
The president apologized – “I’m sorry, Byron!” he said – and then poked some fun at himself.
“This is what happens when you get to be 52 years old,” Obama said.
Brown, a bit later on, appeared unflustered when taking questions of reporters from The Buffalo News about the snag in the president’s usually near-flawless remarks.
“Maybe Congressman Higgins being mayor, and maybe me being congressman – you know, we got a laugh out of it,” Brown said.
“We thought it was a lot of fun.”
And is he interested in a switch of jobs, now that the idea has been suggested?
“The only position I am thinking about right now is mayor of the great City of Buffalo,” Brown said diplomatically.
He said there was a bright side to the moment.
“The fact that the president knows our names – and the fact that the president is in Buffalo and Western New York – is a great thing,” he said.