The President has a history of snafus, of which this is but the latest, and possibly the most offensive.
Comments such as "fifty-seven states", "Canadian president", and "intercontinental railway" have caused him much derision.
But never before has one been considered such an insult, by another nation. To put it briefly, the Poles are pissed.
In a statement, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said, "We always react in the same way when ignorance, lack of knowledge, bad intentions lead to such a distortion of history, so painful for us here in Poland, in a country which suffered like no other in Europe during World War II. We cannot accept such words even if they are spoken by the leader of a friendly power -- or perhaps especially in such situations -- since we expect diligence, care and respect from our friend on issues of such importance as World War II remembrance."
The White House issued a formal apology, trying to get the world to note that it was an accidental misspeak. They also highlighted on Obama's past of honoring Poland's struggle against the Nazis.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted Tuesday night, "White House apologizes for outrageous blunder. PM Tusk will take his position in the morning. It's a shame that this important ceremony was overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence."
On Wednesday Tusk said that the incident provides the US with an opportunity "to support Poland in its efforts towards historical truth, towards the correct phrasings, the right assessment of what happened during World War II on Polish territory and throughout Europe. When someone says 'Polish death camps,' it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler; that is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride.
"Our American friends are capable of a stronger reaction than just the correction itself and the regret which we heard from the White House spokesperson. We take note of these words, but it seems that it would be even more important for the United States than for Poland to end this with class. This is how one acts with regard to tried-and-tested friends, but this is also how one acts in your own, well-defined interest."