Q And lastly, Jay, in January, President Obama said after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all the ails of the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do, it’s important for us to pause for a moment, make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” Did he mean that?
MR. CARNEY: Of course he did.
Q How does the comments -- how did the comments by the Teamsters’ president fit in with that?
MR. CARNEY: Well, first of all, those weren’t comments by the President. Secondly, and as I think it’s been reported by --
Q Comments by a union leader at an event that President Obama spoke at.
MR. CARNEY: I understand that there is a ritual in Washington that somebody says something and you link the associations, and then everybody who has an association with him or her somehow has to avow or disavow it. The President wasn’t there -- I mean, he wasn’t on stage. He didn’t speak for another 20 minutes. He didn’t hear it. I really don’t have any comment beyond that, Jake.
Q Okay. Well, some of us covered the campaign and recall a time when somebody made some harsh comments about then-Senator Obama while -- during the introduction of a McCain rally and the Obama campaign was offended and expected an apology, and Senator McCain came out and did so.
MR. CARNEY: Mr. Hoffa speaks for himself. He speaks for the labor movement, the AFL-CIO. The President speaks for himself. I speak for the President.
What the President was glad to do yesterday was have the opportunity to present his views on the importance of working Americans and on the importance of taking measures to help working Americans --
Q Okay, so the precedent --
MR. CARNEY: -- to create jobs and grow the economy.
Q So the precedent you’re setting right now for the 2012 election is, the candidate -- the Republican candidates are the ones that we need to pay attention to, and those who introduce them at rallies, their surrogates -- you don’t have to pay attention to anything that they say.
MR. CARNEY: Jake, I really -- I think I’ve said what I can say about this.
Q I just -- is that the standard now?
MR. CARNEY: You can report it as you --
Q I’d rather not have to do this Washington Kabuki every time something happens --
MR. CARNEY: It’s up to you to do the Kabuki --
Q -- but if that’s the standard -- if that’s the standard, then --
MR. CARNEY: The standard is, we should focus on the actions we can take to grow the economy and create jobs, instead of focusing on Kabuki theater.
Q Did the President find the comments appropriate?
MR. CARNEY: Can we move on?