Daley: Press 'carry water' for pols

Daley: Press 'carry water' for pols

White House chief of staff Bill Daley: Not a fan of Fourth Estate? AP Photo Close
President Obama's remark to Ed Henry of Fox News on Thursday that, "I didn't know you were the spokesperson for Mitt Romney" set off heated discussions this week around the White House briefing room.

Daley: Press 'carry water' for pols

Henry declined comment on the matter. But reporters were left wondering — is this how the administration is going to respond to criticism from Republican opponents going forward — by casting aspersions on journalists who ask questions?

The White House has tangled with Fox News before, and Henry has had some past, briefing room contretemps with White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Henry, called on at a press conference Thursday, asked Obama to respond to a quote from Romney challenging his credentials on foreign policy in the wake of the Iranian assassination plot. That's when the president asked Henry if he was Romney's spokesperson.

On Friday, CNBC's John Harwood, who also writes for The New York Times, sat down with White House chief of staff Bill Daley, and — in the course of asking a lot of other things — inquired about the flare-up with Henry.

"I want to ask you about the thinking within the White House," Harwood said to Daley, according to a transcript of the interview. "Yesterday at a press conference one of my colleagues asked the president to respond to something Mitt Romney said. The president said, 'I didn't realize you were a spokesman for Mitt Romney.' Is the White House —  you feeling — the president feeling under siege from events right now?"

Daley responded with a lengthy answer about the economy and the middle class. Harwood pressed him, "Why would the president respond that way to a reporter, though?"

"I don't think it was a colleague from your network," Daley said, "but a colleague from another network."

He added, "And — sometimes as you — I know it may surprise people, some people that there are certain people in the media who do seem at times to carry the water for certain — piece of the political spectrum."

A White House spokesman had no comment on the interview
Brophy Saturday 15 October 2011 - 4:50 pm | | Brophy Blog

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