White House Won’t Say If Obama Thinks Hoffa ‘Sons of Bitches’ Rhetoric Appropriate

September 7, 2011 - 11:18 AM
Jay Carney

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday did not answer whether President Barack Obama thought it was appropriate for Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. to say “let’s take these sons of bitches out” in reference to the Tea Party during a Labor Day Obama rally in Detroit.

“First of all, those aren’t comments by the president,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a response to a question from ABC reporter Jake Tapper.

“The president wasn’t there, I mean he wasn’t on stage,” Carney added. “He didn’t speak for another 20 minutes. He didn’t hear it. I really don’t have any comment beyond that.”

After continued questioning by reporters, Carney said, “Mr. Hoffa speaks for himself. He speaks for the labor movement, AFL-CIO. The president speaks for himself. I speak for the president.”

CNSNews.com asked, “Did the president find the comments appropriate?”

Carney said, “Can we move on?”


Before President Barack Obama delivered a Labor Day speech to supporters in Detroit, Hoffa said the Teamsters were the “army” in a “war” with the Tea Party movement.


“Everybody here’s got a vote,” Hoffa said.  “If we go back and we keep an eye on the prize -- let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong!”


Obama was not on stage when Hoffa spoke, but he addressed the crowd later.

Obama’s no-comment on Hoffa’s remarks is in contrast to the president’s call for a more civil tone, one that he stressed during a speech in Tucson, Ariz.,  after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January. Giffords has recovered, but six people were killed in the armed attack.


In his January 12 memorial speech in Tucson, Obama said: “But 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 that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds. … And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let's remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.”


Tapper referenced that part from the speech in which Obama said, “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 that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -- it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”
Asked whether the President Obama believes that, Carney affirmed that he does.