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White House blasts MSNBC for Mark Halperin's 'inappropriate' Obama remark

June 30, 2011 |  3:22 pm

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he directly expressed unhappiness to MSNBC executives over senior political analyst Mark Halperin's profane remark about President Obama over live television Thursday, calling it "inappropriate."

"It would be inappropriate to say that about any president of either party," Carney said a few hours after MSNBC suspended Halperin over the off-color comment, which was made after he was goaded by "Morning Joe" anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski into criticizing Obama about his press conference on Wednesday.

Said Carney, "On behalf of the White House, we expressed that sentiment to executives at the network." He declined to comment on Halperin's suspension. has CSPAN's video of Carney's press comments (see below).

A few hours after Halperin's remark, the analyst, along with the anchors, appeared on air to discuss the incident. Said Scarborough: "A couple of hours ago, something was said on our air. We didn't think it would get on the air. You said it in jest."

Added Brezinski: "We goaded  you into saying it, and didn't think you would say it. Then we laughed because we didn't think it got on the air."

Scarborough appeared very uncomfortable.

Halperin said, "I can't explain why I did it." He said he apologized to the president: "It was inappropriate, it was disrespectful." He also told viewers he was sorry: "It's the kind of thing you can't really explain, but I take full responsibility."

The technicians who Halperin had thought might push a seven-second delay also apologized on air.

Said Scarborough, "This was a mistake on a variety of levels. We all share it and we all apologize."

But in the end, only Halperin was punished.


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--Greg Braxton