Nearly a month after James Hoffa went into a much-publicized tirade against Tea Party-backed Republicans in Congress when he preceded the President in back-to-back speeches, the White House—incredibly—won’t repudiate, distance itself, or even comment on the Teamsters Union president’s Labor Day call to “take these sonofabitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”
At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House yesterday, Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to react to Hoffa’s remarks, made in Detroit as the Teamsters boss was warming up a Labor Day crowd just before the President arrived to address them.
Hoffa’s name came up after ABC-TV’s correspondent Jake Tapper asked Carney about the booing by the audience of a question about the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. It was asked by a soldier, who serves in Iraq, during the most recent Republican presidential debate. Tapper addressed the failure of any of the candidates to condemn the booing.
“[T]here was no response,” said Carney. “[N]o one on the stage said, ‘Wait a second.’ Regardless of what you believe about this issue, we should thank this soldier. He’s over there risking his life for us. And that was my point. And I think that it’s an important thing to note when the job that they are auditioning for is the job of commander-in-chief.”
Fox-TV’s Ed Henry later referred to Tapper’s question, and asked Carney “to use your words, then. Why was there an absence of a reaction from the President to Jimmy Hoffa’s comments on Labor Day, if you’re now saying the Republican presidential candidates basically have a duty … “
Carney interrupted and shot back: “The President wasn’t onstage, he wasn’t—he didn’t hear them. It’s a different thing when the guy is onstage, and they were addressing a question to the candidates onstage.”
“But the comments were broadcast all around the world,” persisted Henry, “and it was pretty clear that one of the President’s top supporters … “
Again, Carney interrupted him and said: “I’m talking about a real-time thing. Again, it’s just an observation.”
It’s also just an observation that nearly a month has gone by and neither the President nor his top spokesman has uttered a scintilla of criticism about some pretty strong language from one of Obama’s biggest supporters.