The PJ Tatler

Carney: Attacks on 'Bumps' Comment 'Desperate and Offensive'

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today called the assertion that President Obama’s soundbite about “bumps in the road” in the post-Arab Spring landscape diminished four American deaths in Benghazi “both desperate and offensive.”

“I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have — have to be able to participate in their own governance,” Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on CBS’ 60 Minutes. “But I — I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty — pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam.”

The Romney campaign jumped on the statement soon after the show aired. “His indication that developments in the Middle East represent bumps in the road is a very different view than I have,” Romney told ABC. “I can’t imagine saying something like the assassination of ambassadors is a bump in the road.”

“The president was referring to the transformations in the region to this process that has only began less than two years ago, as we saw in Tunisia, and continues to this day with remarkable transformations occurring in countries around the region,” Carney said at today’s press briefing. “And obviously in these countries there are huge challenges, huge obstacles to the kinds of change that the people in these countries are demanding, to the kinds of governments that are democratic in nature and responsive to the interests of average citizens in these countries.”

“…There is a certain rather desperate attempt to grasp at words and phrases here to find political advantage. And in this case that’s profoundly offensive.”

Carney visited another comment made by the president on the news show: “My biggest disappointment is that we haven’t changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked.”

“He’s absolutely convinced that, with the insistence of the America people that the tone can change, that together we can bring about that change in Washington,” Carney said. “As he made clear, it requires the voices of average Americans across the country making clear to their elected officials in Washington that they will not tolerate the kinds of partisan gridlock that is often waged and engaged in for the sake of small-bore political advantage at the expense of the interests of average Americans across the country.”