It’s a disease that strikes all White House press secretaries eventually, though owing to Jay Carney’s background as a reporter, it’s taken a little while in this case.
The disease involves a severe and often incurable inability to speak directly in answer to a question. It’s borne of a concern with revealing too much useful information, but also the knowledge that the whole world is watching, and that incorrect answers might move markets in the wrong direction or send furious Proletarians storming the palace gates of some overseas fiefdom we support.
And it strikes because you know the guy you might piss off is the president of the United States.
Carney was asked today during the gaggle a simple question, whether President Obama will actually be negotiating during tomorrow’s meeting with congressional leaders on the budget. He bobbed and weaved for a bit and then came up with this:
“I’m not disagreeing that negotiating is a word you might use.”
Jay’s a good guy, so I called a doctor – yes, um, a spin doctor – and he said there was nothing he could do.