A case study in Obama grammar

My daughter is a senior in high school who has been studying for her SATs, and I asked her to find the grammatical error in the following sentence:

The challenges that lay ahead of us are far too important to allow partisanship or ideology to prevent our progress as a nation.

She immediately responded that “lay” is the past of the verb “to lie,” which cannot describe something “ahead of us” – i.e., in the future.

The sentence was in an e-mail from the White House, signed by President Barack Obama.

OK, I know – the president probably never read the e-mail before it went out, and he just heard about it on the news.

OK, everyone makes mistakes when reading the teleprompter, like pronouncing the s in “corpsman.”

But this was written, proofread, and approved by a legion of college graduates on the White House communications staff before it was sent to millions of people.  Oh, whatever, dude. Lie, lay, lain, liar...who cares?  So long as we don’t let ideology get in the way of progress...