(CNSNews.com) - Asked to clarify President Obama's remark about the "crazies" who oppose him, White House spokesman Eric Shultz on Tuesday said the president "may have been a little flip in his language."
Obama told a Democratic fundraiser near Las Vegas late Monday that he and Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had spent time "figuring out how we are going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems."
Schultz told reporters, "After spending a few weeks away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, the president came back from vacation and was remarking with Senator Reid at the challenges they face this fall. And he may have been a little flip in his language, but we have seen Republicans do wildly irresponsible things in the past, and that includes shutting down the government for ideological reasons. That's a prospect that came to fruition a few years ago, and it's something that Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are floating this time as well."
Schultz said it's "not true" that Obama was referring to opponents of his Iran deal:
"And if you look at the transcript, there's nothing that would support that. But I do think he was -- again, may have been a little flip. But his bottom line is that if you take a step back, as he was during vacation, and take a look at what some Republicans float in Washington -- whether that's shutting down the government, whether that's continuing to fund the government at sequester levels when our economy needs more support and not headwinds -- he thinks those are reckless steps."
Schultz added that Obama thinks funding highways and other transportation infrastructure in three-month increments "is nonsensical." Obama wants a long-term bill.
Does Obama thinks it's "helpful" to call his opposition crazies, a reporter asked.
"Look, again, Isaac, the president may have been a little too flip, but at the end of the day, the president and Leader Reid were talking about the challenges they face this coming fall. I've listed a few instances of Republicans taking steps that we consider unwise...Look, I think if you look at some of the things being proposed by Republicans in Washington -- for example, watering down Wall Street Reform, which is something that has built in the safeguards to our capital markets at a time where we're seeing wild gyrations in global markets, we do find that irresponsible."
"Does the president wish he hadn't said that?" the reporter asked.
"No," Schultz replied.
Can a Democrat be among the crazies" the reporter persisted.
"Present company excluded?" Schultz joked. "The answer is, Isaac, he wasn't talking about Iran when he made that remark."
Are the Koch brothers the 'crazies'?" another reporter asked.
"I think the President mentioned them yesterday because they are part of the entrenched interests spending large sums of money trying to impede the progress that we're making as a country."
"Are the people who oppose the TPP the 'crazies'?" (Laughter)
The press briefing ended on that note.