In an indication of how quickly the controversy surrounding Rick Perry’s former hunting ground has penetrated the political media, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked, at today’s daily briefing, to weigh in on how the Texas Governor has handled the issue so far. Carney, in a brief response, said that the name of the camp “was clearly offensive,” and that, based on what he has ready, Governor Perry “shares that opinion.”
“All I would say is, the name was clearly offensive, and from what I’ve read, and I have no inside knowledge beyond what I’ve read, the Governor shares that opinion,” Carney said.
Asked, on follow-up, if the controversy is something that “should reflect poorly” on Perry’s candidacy, Carney said, “I really don’t know much about it, except from what I’ve read, and that’s all I can say about it.”
While Carney’s response reads as very off-the-cuff, the fact that he chose to respond at all is noteworthy, and likely the result of at least some pre-briefing thought process. Neither Carney, nor Robert Gibbs before him, have ever been shy about blowing off a question, especially one as tangential to the White House as this one. Carney’s answer, less a terse semi-defense of Perry than a clear refusal to pile on, allows the White House to remain above the fray, while Perry, the media, and Herman Cain duke it out.
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