White House Press Secretary Jay Carney walked a line between refusing to criticize the pastor who charged the “religious right” with racism while distancing President Obama from the remarks by emphasizing that the Obama family only attended the church service due to tradition.
“I wasn’t there and I have not spoken with the president,” Carney told reporters. “I know that he enjoys going to easter services with his family. “In keeping with the tradition that dates back many presidencies, he went right across the park here to St. John’s Episcopal Church and attended services there.”
During the Easter service, the Rev. Dr. Luis Leon said that “It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling us back … for blacks to be back in the back of the bus … for women to be back in the kitchen … for immigrants to be back on their side of the border,” according to the pool report.
Carney refused to comment on the sermon. “Again, I wasn’t there — I don’t have a characterization of his comments,” he said.