Carney shoots down notion that Obama's charm offensive is fake
March 12th, 2013
01:46 PM ET
1 year ago

Carney shoots down notion that Obama's charm offensive is fake

(CNN) – White House press secretary Jay Carney Tuesday sharply rejected a statement that reportedly came from a senior White House official, who told a Washington news outlet that the president's recent charm offensive with Republicans "is a joke" and a waste of time.

"I have no idea who said that," Carney said. "But I can tell you that opinion has never been voiced in my presence, in the president's presence, in the West Wing. It does not represent the president's view, it does not represent the White House's view, and it does not represent the administration's view."

The comment was in response to a question from CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta, who pointed to the National Journal article written by Ron Fournier.

In the piece, Fournier looked into the motives of President Obama's recent and upcoming meetings with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill. In an unprecedented move, the president dined with 12 GOP senators last week and met with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan for lunch.

CNN also reported that Obama called Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Mark Kirk on Monday to talk about immigration and gun legislation.

Obama heads to Congress this week to meet with both parties in both chambers, starting with Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

Fournier questions whether the schmoozing is a genuine form of outreach or simply a chance to appear more bipartisan as his approval numbers took a small dip in recent weeks.

The article noted that some of Obama's advisers aren't so convinced the strategy will work.

"'This is a joke. We're wasting the president's time and ours," said a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly. 'I hope you all (in the media) are happy because we're doing it for you.'"

The blunt quote represented a surprisingly frank viewpoint from a White House that has thus far described Obama's talks with Republicans as sincere. And Republican senators also described last week's dinner with Obama as "cordial," "genuine," "honest," and "interactive."

Asked if Carney has spoken with Obama about the motive behind the meetings, Carney defended the president, saying Obama was eager to "to engage with lawmakers of both parties in order to find common ground."

"The president is at the head of this effort because he believes deeply in it," Carney continued. "That comment again, I'm not sure who said, I have no idea, but it does not represent in any way the president's view or the views of this White House."

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, responded to Carney's comments.

"We certainly take Mr. Carney at his word, but the proof will be in the follow-through," Buck said.

– CNN's Jim Acosta and Dana Bash contributed to this report.


Filed under: Jay Carney • President Obama • Republicans
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. muchthunder..little rain

    lets hope not...enough of the petty stuff ..govern...please

    March 12, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    White House press secretary Jay Carney Tuesday sharply rejected a statement that reportedly came from a senior White House official, who told a Washington news outlet that the president's recent charm offensive with Republicans "is a joke" and a waste of time.
    --------------–
    Describing negotiating with Republicans as "a joke" and a "waste of time" has a double meaning.

    March 12, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    If only the right wing media would tell the truth every now and then. Quit carrying water for the GOP. People need to know how the GOP made it their mission to make President Obama a one term POTUS. Tell the people how the big wigs in the party had a secret meeting on the night of his first inauguration, tell the people how the GOP refuses to do ANYTHING to move the economy forward, how they are so focused on now making the POTUS fail. Tell them how they never, ever talk about Jobs, that all they do is complain about abortion and repealing Obamacare.

    In short the media needs to report the news not gossip.

    March 12, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. rs

    It is at least as genuine as the Republican's respect for the President, right?

    March 12, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    @ Wake Up People...

    Thought you were outta here....

    March 12, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    I tried to Fair, but unfortunately I'm a glutton for punishment.

    March 12, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. jpmichigan

    Enough is enough, it is going on 5 years and just when does the President give up on the campaigning and finally become serious about governing and showing if /able to lead. History has shown that every thing associated with this President has various motives.

    March 12, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Wake up People!

    I tried to Fair, but unfortunately I'm a glutton for punishment.
    --------------------
    That's the right stuff.

    March 12, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Name willard bullock

    I said mocked out of jay careny and presdient obama also I want to know what happened about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    March 12, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Name willard bullock

    I said mocked out of jay carney also I want to know what happened about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    March 12, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    Rudy, I really tried but it's like an addiction... I have to know what's being said. LOL.

    I see Willard Bullock is back and still talking about fraud check scam from afrcian amercians. Dude, learn to put a complete sentence together and if you're not that great at spelling, there is a thing called spell check.

    March 12, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Bob

    President Obama reaches out to Repugs and as always, gets his hand slapped for his trouble.

    March 12, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. rs

    jpmichigan

    Enough is enough, it is going on 5 years and just when does the President give up on the campaigning and finally become serious about governing and showing if /able to lead. History has shown that every thing associated with this President has various motives.
    ___________________________
    It's been 5 years. When is the GOP going to realize it has lost, and work with the President? As to your "motives" statement. Really? Do you think everything the GOP does comes from the purity of their heart? Politics=Motives.

    March 12, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Debbie

    The president CAN lead. The problem is that the GOP makes it their prime mission to not negotiate with the president. Remember, the GOP will not negotiate.
    On another note, George W. Bush's ineptness was not a joke. Maybe some thought it was, but he was just clueless.

    March 12, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "a senior White House official who was promised anonymity so he could speak frankly."

    Right. And I'm sure he was recorded on this MSM twit's Fisher Price dictaphone while they were speaking on his Sesame Street phone, so the whole thing is totally legit and not just a way of manufacturing a controversy to report about when a gaggle of completely partisan idiots decide to believe the accusations despite the denial. Yep. Totally legit. You know, I really don't care which side is getting the crap end of the stick with this secretive unidentified "source" nonsense. It's garbage and amounts to nothing more than gossip rag fluff one would expect from the National Enquirer or TMZ.

    March 12, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Dean

    If he wanted to be serious about this he would have started 5 years ago.

    March 12, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Name willard bullock wrote:

    I said mocked out of jay careny and presdient obama also I want to know what happened about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian
    -------------
    Check with Brietbart for that "story". He'll know all about it.

    March 12, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Ed1

    I guess you think there is an Easter Bunny too just a talking puppet as always.

    March 12, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. HHMMmmmm

    Hey, how does all the Dems and WH feel about J-Lo, Jay Z, and many of the other "elite" entertainers being some of the highest paid entertainers right now? They would be considered RICH and I thought the RICH had to pay their fair share. Oh, I forgot, as long as they are donors to Obama then they don't get chastised for working and getting paid for it and being RICH. The "charm" will run out soon. Two faced agendas don't work.

    March 12, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Getoverit

    She admitted voting twice in the presidential election last November, and now, Obama supporter Melowese Richardson has been indicted for allegedly voting at least six times. She also is charged with illegal voting in 2008 and 2011.

    March 12, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |