White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to criticisms of the White House threatening Bob Woodward by saying that the White House and the Administration is always “respectful” to journalists trying to do their job. Carney claimed that anyone who knew the person reported to have “threatened” Woodward for saying the President “moved the goal posts” on the sequester deal would believe it was impossible the email was a threat. Minutes after praising the press pool for doing their job and proclaiming “respect” for them, Carney mocked the press for complaining about access to the President and snarled that they should do some “old fashioned reporting.”
The press corps cornered Carney on Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s admission yesterday that the cuts in education might not be sequester related. Carney said that he hadn’t looked into Duncan’s claim and referred the press to check with local school districts. Several members of the press corps shot back, “So, you’re asserting something and you’re asking us to check with a local school district to check if it’s accurate?” one reporter asked.
Carney replied, “…Well, obviously the school district is a good place to go to get information about the school district… I don’t have anymore for you … I encourage to make phone calls, in old fashioned reporting sense, to find out more if you like.”
After this question Carney was asked about the tone the President expects aides to speak to the press. Carney said that the administration is “enormously respectful of the work that you do, of the work that I used to do.” He later said that he “admired” the press corps.
A few minutes after that exchange, Carney was back on the defensive dealing with the sequester. Carney kept pushing the press corps to acknowledge that the President has always pushed a “balanced” approach to spending cuts and then quipped that he realized getting the sequester story accurate was “not as important as who the President was golfing with.” Carney was referring to a report that the press was shut out of watching the President golf with Tiger Woods last week.