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Carney Thinks Sharknado Reference Has to Do With “NATO”

by Keith Koffler on September 19, 2013, 9:41 am

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is apparently unaware of the pop-culture sensation “Sharknado,” thinking a world play by a reporter on the film’s title was in fact a reference to “NATO.”

At Wednesday’s White House briefing, a reporter compared possible government shutdown scenarios to the chaos of Sharknado, which features sharks hurled into Los Angeles by a tornado. Carney didn’t get it.

From the transcript of the briefing:

Carney: Yes.

Reporter: Jay, so are we looking at sort of a “Gridlock-Nado,” where we could have the government shut down at the end of the month and then go into default a couple of weeks later? Is that a possibility?

Carney: (Laughter.) I’m not sure about the NATO part of it, but the –

Reporter: Maybe a better term, then.

Carney: It depends on what Republicans really want to achieve here.

Here’s the video of the exchange:


srdem65 September 19, 2013 at 9:51 am

srdem65 didn’t get it either.

Aileen September 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

Me either

Susan September 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

Me either, srdem. Guess I’m not up on the latest pop culture fads – never heard of “Sharknado” until Keith’s post.

Kimbly September 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

It’s some horrible low budget sci fi movie (on syfy channel I think) that somehow did so well that they are making a Sharknado2. Something about a major tornado sweeping up sharks from the ocean and dropping them on land to kill people in various ways.

Star September 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

I knew about it–but it did not fit this analogy. I do find that some commentators (cough, Beckel, cough) are pretty ignorant of pop culture. He never knows who anyone is–and has not heard of most movies and games.

Langley Spook September 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I dont get that, you work in the media and you have no clue about pop culture…
Where do these people get their news/information?

Girly1 September 19, 2013 at 11:39 am

Me either….

DeniseVB September 19, 2013 at 10:02 am

Nado-NATO, I gotta give it to Carney for the confusion. I would have asked about “a sharknado gridlock” instead of a “gridlock-nado”. ?

Julie Brueckheimer September 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

Hard of hearing? Hard of hearing on purpose?

Star September 19, 2013 at 10:49 am

Just wonky and narrowly focused.

Star September 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Even then it makes–sorry–no sense…not even nado sense. Not even Carney sense. Not even Obama sense. Oh why ask why.

Jeff1000 September 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

So what else is new? Carney doesn’t get anything.

1776 September 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

Ok, here are some pop culture inspired descriptions of the Obama administration…



TimG September 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

Thanks 1776!


TimW September 19, 2013 at 11:52 am


AZ Granny September 19, 2013 at 10:54 am

Obama and Carney are the most partisan-nado people I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Star September 19, 2013 at 10:59 am

Er, nothing personal, but the nado thing is not working out here.

Sadie September 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

*Giggles and guffaws* – Thanks AZ, I needed that!

Radegunda September 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

I can’t believe I’m coming down on Carney’s side. If I heard someone say “gridlock-nado” in the course of a serious question, I wouldn’t immediately think “Oh yeah, nado= sharks.” The suffix hasn’t taken on a substantive meaning in general parlance.

Considering how excessively pop-culture-oriented this president is, I think it’s a plus that someone in the White House is too busy with serious matters to know every current pop-culture reference. It’s true that Carney spends most of this time figuring out how to lie about serious matters, but that’s another issue.

cincycinco September 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm

“Carney Thinks…” – Keith Koffer

Gots to stop you right there, Mr. Koffler. You know VERY WELL that those two words don’t go together…

Langley Spook September 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Just like “Obama’s leadership” = two words that DO NOT go together

Margaret September 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm

At first I thought this piece was satire.

Then I realized that this is true.

And then I cried. Because we don’t own a television that connects to any broadcast channel. And we know about “Sharknado.”

How the hell did this White House not know about a television show that watched, tweeted, facebooked and talked about by millions of Americans?

Oh! I remember! They don’t care about what we think.

Idiots. Every single one of them.

PS: I’m not faulting any reader who doesn’t know about Sharknado. It just seems weird that this White House — this White House that seems to care ssssoooooooo much about the middle class — wouldn’t have a clue about popular culture. Out of touch.