Obama gave an interview yesterday on TV where he was asked about nationalizing banks.  His response is an interesting look into the way the administration thinks about things, comparing the US to Japan and Sweden.  You can read a transcript here.

What caught my eye was his use of the word “like” in the following excerpt (second sentence.)

So you’d think looking at it, Sweden looks like a good model. Here’s the problem; Sweden had like five banks.

This is the so-cal “like.” It stands for “about” or in this case “not many more than.” It lends an informality to the sentence which adds to its comical and therefore rhetorical punch.  On top of that it brings the President further down to Earth even when talking about something esoteric like bank nationalization.

I like it.  Is this the first occurence of the so-cal “like” in Presidential prose?

Be wary though, this mild version is the gateway “like” to more serious transgressions such as “We were discussing TARP and Geithner is like, ‘No way Larry, I am the Treasury Secretary and I say no caps on executive pay’ and then, like, Summers is all ‘Whatever.’ “