Much as I dislike having to disagree with the lovely and talented Mary Katharine Ham on any issue, I have to say that this particular incident is somewhat excusable. After all, Presidents are human beings; with their own special skills, advantages, and disadvantages. They’re not at all interchangeable.
On the eve of the Mexican holiday, Obama on Monday had an event in the East Room of the White House with Mexico’s Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan (sahr-oo-KHAN’).
Obama joked that it was “Cinco de Cuatro,” botching a play on the Spanish word for “four” when he meant to say “Cuatro de Mayo,” or the Fourth of May. He tried again, but he still did not get it right.
So it’s a bit unreasonable to expect Barack Obama to be as linguistically gifted as George W Bush*.