During today’s press gaggle, reporters pressed White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino about President Bush’s comments implying that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Democrats favor a policy of appeasement toward terrorists. Perino denied that Bush was taking aim directly at Obama, stating that presidential candidates often believe “the world revolves around you.”
However, she wouldn’t refute that his comments were meant to include the senator:
Q: But, so, not aimed at him — do they include him?
PERINO: He’ll have to speak for himself as to what his policy is and you guys can know it well. This was a speech that the President gave to the Knesset. And this is not a new statement by President Bush. This is long-established United States policy, so it should come as no surprise that President Bush suggests that we should not be talking with these people.
Perino’s comments contradict what Bush administration aides are admitting privately. As CNN’s Ed Henry reported earlier today:
White House aides are acknowledging that this was a reference to the fact that Sen. Obama and other Democrats have publicly said that it would be ok for the U.S. President to meet with leaders like the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
NBC’s John Yang also said that a White House official told him that Bush’s comments were aimed not only at Obama, but at former President Jimmy Carter and his suggestion that the United States talk with Hamas.