If you’re a small country, President Obama can pay you no higher compliment than saying you “punch above your weight.”
Just ask the leaders of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the Philippines, who have each been on the receiving end of the president’s favored boxing analogy (as spotted by Danish TV host Thomas Buch-Andersen):
- “…that’s fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs.”
- “I’ve said this before, but I want to repeat: Norway punches above its weight.”
- “We have no stronger ally than the Netherlands. They consistently punch above their weight.”
- “Ireland punches above their weight. It’s a small country.”
- “The Philippines is not the largest of countries. It — in using a phrase from boxing — punches above its weight.”
But if “punching above your weight” is supposed to be reserved for small countries, the president may want to revisit where he uses the pugilistic turn-of-phrase.
Speaking to soldiers at Fort Bragg, NC in December, Obama praised his wife Michelle as “cute” and told the troops, “that’s your goal: to marry up. Punch above your weight.” (Watch the video.)
It’s odd praise to say your wife is in a higher weight class. It’s downright dangerous to accidentally compare her to a small country.