Well this was kind of refreshing.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today quite properly took quite seriously questions from ABC’s Jonathan Karl about Vice President Biden’s performance over the past couple of weeks.
Rather than shooting the messenger, which is normal White House protocol, Earnest tacitly acknowledged that Biden’s incessant gaffing of late was cause enough for alarm to issue a statement reassuring that Biden remains a key player on President Obama’s team.
Earnest thankfully avoided the usual “Joe’s a colorful guy” defense.
KARL: The vice president has apologized to the Emirates, he has apologized to the Turks, he may or may not apologize next to the Saudis. A few weeks ago he apologized to the ADL for using the term ‘shylock.’ He took heat for using the term ‘Orient’ to describe Asia. He praised Bob Packwood before a women’s group.
This is all in the past few weeks. What is the president’s response to his vice president going out and continually needing to apologize for things he’s said?
EARNEST: Well, I’ll say a couple things about that. The first is, I think the vice president is somebody who has enough character to admit when he’s made a mistake . . .
KARL: That’s a lot of mistakes in a short period of time –
EARNEST: He did that both publicly when his office generated readouts of these calls, but he also he did it privately when he picked up the telephone to clarify and apologize for his comments over the weekend.
The fact of the matter is the vice president is somebody who continues to be a core member of the president’s national security team. He is somebody who has decades of experience in dealing with leaders around the globe, and the president is pleased to be able to rely on his advice as we confront the variety of challenges that are so critical to American national security.
Earnest wouldn’t say whether or not Biden had apologized to Obama.