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Jedi Mind Meld is a term used by the U.S. President Barack Obama to describe the difficulties of convincing the Republican House to avert the crisis of budget sequestration during a press conference at the White House on March 1st, 2013. Due to its conflated origin in popular sci-fi franchises Star Wars (“Jedi Mind Trick”) and Star Trek (“Mindmelding”), President Obama’s use of the term drew heavy commentaries from people trying to correct the mistake on Twitter and elsewhere.
On March 1st, 2013, President Obama appeared before the White House press corps to answer questions regarding the government’s failure to prevent automatic budget cuts from going into effect. When asked whether he was exercising his leadership to the fullest capacity, Obama responded defensively by saying that he cannot forcefully change the minds of congressional leaders as he is “not a dictator,” even drawing a pop culture reference to the popular sci-fi franchises Star Wars and Star Trek.
“I’m presenting a fair deal. The fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a ‘Jedi mind-meld’ with these folks and convince them to do what’s right,” he said, while offering no new ideas for resolving the bitter dispute.
Within the first hour after the press conference, President Obama’s conflated use of “Jedi Mind Meld,” which is thought to be a combination of “mind trick” as used by Jedi fighters in Star Wars and “Vulcan mind meld” as used by telepathic Vulcans in Star Trek, quickly went viral and became a trending topic on Twitter, leading to a flurry of commentaries hashtaged #jedimindmeld that eagerly pointed out the blunder.
News Media Coverage
Throughout the afternoon, the Twitter reaction to President Obama’s “Jedi mind meld” comment was picked up by numerous major news outlets, including NBC News, CBS News, CNN, The Washington Post, Reuters and Mediate.
The White House Response
Later that same day, the White House responded to the online chatters with an image macro featuring a still shot of President Obama and an anti-sequester slogan written in signature Star Wars and Star Trek font styles, as well as a shortlink URL (wh.gov/jedimindmeld) that redirects to “The President’s Plan on The Sequester” page.
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