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Somehow, many media miss James Hoffa's S.O.B. quote, but not Jake Tapper

jay Carney at white house media briefing 9-6-11

Quite a few national media outlets must have missed Teamsters President James Hoffa's Labor Day speech introducing President Obama in Detroit. (Not the L.A. Times, of course.)

Because they neglected to mention the union boss' canine quote about the tea party:

Let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.

Let's assume for the moment, that the son of the still-missing Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa, who was taken out somewhere once never to reappear, was not suggesting the enthusiastic union crowd start dating tea party members.

The living Hoffa's statement doesn't seem to quite fit Democrat Obama's past pleas for and promises of a new civility in the nation's political discourse.

You won't be surprised to learn that the media rep who tenaciously pursued this....

...angle of the story during Tuesday's White House media briefing was ABC News' Jake Tapper, one of the best. Not much to add to Tapper's interrogation of Obama press secretary Jay Carney.

Here's the transcript:

Q And lastly, Jay, in January, President Obama said after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all the ails of the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do, it’s important for us to pause for a moment, make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

Did he mean that?
 
  MR. CARNEY: Of course he did.
 
Q How does the comments — how did the comments by the Teamsters’ president fit in with that?
 
MR. CARNEY: Well, first of all, those weren’t comments by the President. Secondly, and as I think it’s been reported by –
 
Q Comments by a union leader at an event that President Obama spoke at.Jake Tapper of ABC News
 
MR. CARNEY: I understand that there is a ritual in Washington that somebody says something and you link the associations, and then everybody who has an association with him or her somehow has to avow or disavow it.

The President wasn’t there — I mean, he wasn’t on stage. He didn’t speak for another 20 minutes. He didn’t hear it. I really don’t have any comment beyond that, Jake.
 
Q Okay. Well, some of us covered the campaign and recall a time when somebody made some harsh comments about then-Senator Obama while — during the introduction of a McCain rally and the Obama campaign was offended and expected an apology, and Senator McCain came out and did so.
 
MR. CARNEY: Mr. Hoffa speaks for himself. He speaks for the labor movement, the AFL-CIO. The President speaks for himself. I speak for the President.
 
What the President was glad to do yesterday was have the opportunity to present his views on the importance of working Americans and on the importance of taking measures to help working Americans –
 
Q Okay, so the precedent –
 
MR. CARNEY: — to create jobs and grow the economy.
 
Q So the precedent you’re setting right now for the 2012 election is, the candidate — the Republican candidates are the ones that we need to pay attention to, and those who introduce them at rallies, their surrogates — you don’t have to pay attention to anything that they say.
 
MR. CARNEY: Jake, I really — I think I’ve said what I can say about this.
 
Q I just — is that the standard now?
 
MR. CARNEY: You can report it as you –
 
Q I’d rather not have to do this Washington Kabuki every time something happens –
 
MR. CARNEY: It’s up to you to do the Kabuki –
 
Q — but if that’s the standard — if that’s the standard, then –
 
MR. CARNEY: The standard is, we should focus on the actions we can take to grow the economy and create jobs, instead of focusing on Kabuki theater.
 
Q Did the President find the comments appropriate?
 
MR. CARNEY: Can we move on?

So, what do you think? Were Hoffa's comments appropriate? Is it appropriate for the Obama White House to take or dodge responsibility for what their surrogates say in public? Scroll down for the video version:

 

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Video H/T: Melissablogs.com

Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images (Carney at White House media briefing, Sept. 6); ABC News (Tapper).

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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