Smartest. President. Evah!

WASHINGTON (AP) — He bobbled the spelling, but President Obama had nothing but respect for the “women of soul” who shook and rattled the rafters of the White House Thursday night.

“What a lineup!” Mr. Obama declared at the outset of a concert that featured a generations-spanning array of soul singers stretching from musical legends Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle to 20-year-old Ariana Grande.

Mr. Obama paid tribute to Franklin for turning her signature song “Respect” into “a rallying cry for African-Americans, women and then everyone who felt marginalized.”

The pumped-up audience gave a hearty laugh but was more than willing to forgive the president for spelling it “R-S-P-E-C-T.”

In addressing the crowd, Mr. Obama said, “When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her…”

He was interrupted by laughter, paused, then continued, “She had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African-Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved. They wanted some respect. Later, when somebody asked her why it had such an impact, she said, ‘I guess everybody just wants a little respect.’ Today, they still do.”

Update: Video added.

Update: They didn’t think anyone would notice?

Via The Hill:

The White House stenographer appears to have given President Obama a little too much “respect.”

Introducing soul legend Aretha Franklin at a White House performance Thursday night, the president flubbed the spelling of her signature song.

“When Aretha first told us what R-S-P-E-C-T meant to her…” Obama said, prompting laughter from the crowd.

The president’s face betrayed that he had misspelled the anthem, but he did not stop to correct himself before adding that Franklin “had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African-Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved.

“They wanted some respect,” Obama said. “Later, when somebody asked her why it had such an impact, she said, ‘I guess everybody just wants a little respect.’ Today, they still do.”

But anyone reading the official transcript of the event provided by the White House would have had no idea of the president’s mistake. In that version, the president correctly spells out the word.

“When Aretha first told us what “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” meant to her, she had no idea it would become a rallying cry for African Americans, and women, and then everyone who felt marginalized because of what they looked like or who they loved,” the White House transcript reads.

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