The White House’s Cool Response To Hot Mike


The White House is brushing off a slightly embarrassing moment for President Obama, who was caught on tape, having a private chat with donors that was never intended for the prying ears of the press.

“It was a miscommunication — nothing more than that,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a Friday briefing. “But we’ve — it’s not a problem, not an issue.”CBS News’ Mark Knoller managed to catch an unscripted moment of the speech by sticking around in a press room after other reporters had left. Reporters were kept in a holding room separate from the fundraiser, lest they start asking embarrassing questions of donors, but were allowed to listen to a portion of the speech piped into the room.

But after most of the press left, the mike was still live unbeknownst to the President. Knoller heard Obama give his supporters a little partisan red-meat, which belies his usual above-the-fray public attitude.

“I said: ‘You want to repeal healthcare? Go at it. We’ll have that debate,” Obama told them. “You’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?'”

The White House predictably played down the minor mike snafu.

Obama is not embarrassed “at all,” Carney said.

“That was meant to be a closed-press event,” Carney said. “He was taking questions from supporters. But there’s nothing — nothing he said that contradicts anything he said in public.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a slight roll-of-the-eyes at the mere mention of Obama’s secret-comments-exposed during a budget briefing with reporters. Now that Obama’s officially launched his re-election campaign, Republicans have chocked up everything the President does as politically motivated.

“I didn’t see his remarks, but I think you mentioned it was a campaign speech,” Boehner said.