In the wake of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments that President Barack Obama does not love America, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was pressed if Obama “regrets” making comments in the same vein about former President George W. Bush.
During the Friday W.H. briefing, Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Earnest if Obama harbors regrets for calling Bush “unpatriotic” for adding over $4 trillion to the debt during his presidency during the 2008 presidential campaign.
“Do you think the president has any regrets about saying President Bush was unpatriotic for adding $4 trillion to the debt?” Henry pressed Earnest.
“I don’t know sorrow is the word that I would use,” Earnest said.
“You said you feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani,” Henry responded, to which Earnest affirmed. “But as a candidate, Sen. Obama said that President Bush was unpatriotic.”
“I have not seen the actual comments,” Earnest said, asking if Henry had them at his fingertips.
“He said that the president, and I’m paraphrasing this part, added about $4 trillion to the debt, and then he said ‘that’s irresponsible, that’s unpatriotic,” Henry told Earnest. “So I see a difference from Giuliani because he’s talking about an issue, but nonetheless, questioning the patriotism of the President of the United States.”
“I think what the president was doing was he was questioning the specific wisdom wisdom of that decision, and questioning whether or not that was in the best interest of the country,” Earnest said.
“He said it was unwise, he said that’s unpatriotic,” Henry shot back.
“But again, he’s talking about that, he was not talking about a person,” Earnest said.
“Again, there is a lot that the president had to say in the State of the Union about the level of our discourse,” Earnest said. “There is no doubt that we will have significant disagreements across the aisle. That is ultimately why democracy is all about, where we go in and debate issues.”
“But the president, as you recall, in the State of the Union said that we should have a debate that’s worthy of the United States Congress and worthy of the country,” Earnest continued. “That there are significant challenges facing this country, resorting to a politics in which we question each other’s basic decency is not consistent with the reason that a lot of people got into public service.”