A Series of Unfortunate Events
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a plea from a group of sixth graders who had their tour of the presidential residence canceled due to the so-called “sequester” cuts in a press briefing this afternoon. Mr. Carney described the situation as “extremely unfortunate,” but unavoidable due to the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 after lawmwakers were unable to reach a deficit reduction deal.
“The President and the First Lady have throughout the time that they’ve been here made extraordinary efforts to make this the people’s house, and it is extremely unfortunate that we have a situation like the sequester that compels the kinds of tradeoffs and decisions that this represents,” Mr. Carney said. “The fact is the Secret Service, like other agencies of government, is affected by the sequester. And the Secret Service presented options that ranged from canceling tours to potential furloughs and cuts in overtime. And in order to allow the Secret Service to best fulfill its core mission, the White House made the decision that we would, unfortunately, have to temporarily suspend these tours.”
The Fourth Estate
Beyoncé Knowles may or may not have sung the “Star Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, but the country’s executive branch seems disinclined to find out.
Ever since reports first accused Ms. Knowles of lip-syncing the patriotic anthem, inaugural news coverage has sharply focused on the issue, including front-page treatment from New York City’s two tabloid dailies. Yet asked about the ongoing controversy during today’s media briefing, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, had no significant comment on the matter.
Since last Friday’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, President Barack Obama has used vague phrases like “meaningful action” to express his administration’s response to the slaying, while avoiding delving too far into specific plans. At a media briefing earlier today, however, White House press secretary Jay Carney listed some of the gun control measures Mr. Obama would actually support.
“He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein’s stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Carney said. “He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called ‘gun show loophole,’ and there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support. People have talked about [restricting] high capacity ammunition clips, for example. That is certainly something he would be interested in looking at. My point is that it goes beyond that.”
In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that, as of this writing, left at least 27 people dead including the alleged gunman and 18 children, Congressman Jerry Nadler issued an impassioned statement calling for stricter gun control legislation.
“I am absolutely horrified by news of the cold-blooded shooting of dozens of children in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children,” Mr. Nadler said. “We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”
The White House Press Office made a rather amusing error when they sent out the transcript of Press Secretary Jay Carney’s afternoon briefing. In the transcript, Mr. Carney’s answer to a question about rumors Vogue editrix Anna Wintour could be the ambassador to the United Kingdom was identified as coming from “Mrs. Obama” rather than Read More
Earlier today, the White House announced President Barack Obama and his one-time rival, Mitt Romney, would be sitting down for a bite to eat tomorrow, but outside of the event being scheduled no additional information was provided. Various journalists, naturally, weren’t satisfied and attempted to score more details from Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney. They mostly did not succeed.
Caught off Guard
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney talked to reporters about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Barack Obama before Air Force One landed in Las Vegas this afternoon. However, Mr. Carney didn’t have much to say about the announcement, because the president has yet to communicate with his newest high-profile backer.
The Thrilla in Wasilla
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin sparked a controversy yesterday when she posted a note on her Facebook page accusing President Barack Obama of engaging in a “shuck and jive shtick” with “lies” about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last month. The term “shuck and jive” originated in the Deep South and has been used as a derogatory description of African-Americans. After Ms. Palin faced accusations her use of the phrase was racist, she fired back with another Facebook note that pointed to past uses of the term by Governor Andrew Cuomo, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
“For the record, there was nothing remotely racist in my use of the phrase ‘shuck and jive’–a phrase which many people have used, including Chris Matthews, Andrew Cuomo, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to name a few off the top of my head,” Ms. Palin wrote. “In fact, Andrew Cuomo also used the phrase in reference to Barack Obama, and the fact that Mr. Cuomo and I used the phrase in relation to President Obama signifies nothing out of the ordinary.”
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The Obama administration has been criticized for offering evolving, confusing explanations for the cause of last month’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. However, current senior Obama campaign advisor and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs thinks his successor in the press office handled the situation well.
Air Force One had a close encounter of the Ahmadinejad kind on the way to a campaign event in Ohio this afternoon. According to the press pool report, President Barack Obama’s plane passed by the jet being used by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland.
“As Air Force One taxied down the runway at Andrews, plane passed Iran Air, which is parked at the air base, presumably waiting there before spiriting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad home. The Iranian plane is a handsome-looking white 747,” wrote pool reporter Helene Cooper of The New York Times.