Here's a comment to that little article which makes some points I agree with:
Barack Obama passed off a reporter today in Michigan, and she seemed less than amused by his name for her.
"Hold on one second there, sweetie," he says.
The reporter signed off: "This sweetie never did get an answer to that question."
Would Obama have called a male reporter "Sweetie"?
I have to tell you that I am always annoyed when I am called sweetie, honey, hon, or any other term of endearment by someone who has no right to use a term of endearment toward anyone who is not family. I strongly support Obama, which you may doubt, but most folks in this country need to learn how to speak respecfully to others, and when Senator Obama doesn't understand this, it needs to be pointed out. Better that a supporter point it out than someone who is against him. What I notice about the use of terms of endearment is that they are never directed at men, only women. When someone at the cash register calls me "hon" and calls the man behind me "sir" I think I am justified in being annoyed. I think Senator Obama needs to learn this simple fact.
It's patronizing. It's condescending. It's inappropriately familiar. It's demeaning.
It's also just one more example of how sexism is so much more socially acceptable in this country than racism.
To his credit, Obama called the reporter and apologized. But it should be noted that on another occasion he called a factory worker "Sweetie" and took some heat for that too. How is he going to address female heads of state and prime ministers once he's president? I don't imagine Angela Merkel would particularly appreciate being addressed with terms of endearment. Not to mention Queen Elizabeth.