Obama compares his bowling skills to the Special Olympics on Leno

US President Barack Obama made history tonight as the first serving American President to appear on a late night talk show.

The Jay Leno appearance went mostly well. Obama cracked some jokes, spoke seriously about the economy, and defended Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. But Obama without a teleprompter always shortens the odds of a mistake, like last year when he cracked a joke about Nancy Reagan and seances. And true to form he did, comparing his Ten-Pin Bowling skills to the Special Olympics.

Q Now, are they going to put a basketball — I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down.

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. I have been practicing all — (laughter.)

Q Really? Really?

THE PRESIDENT: I bowled a 129. (Laughter and applause.)

Q No, that’s very good. Yes. That’s very good, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something. (Laughter.)

Q No, that’s very good.

THE PRESIDENT: No, listen, I’m making progress on the bowling, yes.

Conservative blogs are naturally condemning the comments as insensitive, and the White House issued a statement apologizing for the remark even before the interview went to air. No quotes yet from disability groups, but you can guess what they will be.

Here’s the video of Obama on Leno and the Special Olympics comment: