Well, that makes it all better. Here’s the full, statesmanlike text:
“I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say that’s not for me to pass judgment on,” Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“He’s been inaugurated. That’s a fact. Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we’ll let them decide about that.”
As usual, the White House “clarifies” itself into more trouble than it started with. Ahmadinejad was inaugurated today (with demonstrations all over the country, members of parliament either not attending or walking out, and large sections of the Tehran bazaar shut down). When Gibbs said that Ahmadinejad was “elected,” I didn’t take him to mean that the elections were “fair.” Only that the White House accepted his presidency.
Which is precisely the point. I don’t know anyone who still thinks that the “election results” are legitimate, and Roger Cohen reported in the NY Times Magazine over the weekend that the members of Obama’s “Iran team,” headed by Dennis Ross, all know it’s a fraud. But if they say that, they figure they won’t get their negotiations with the supreme leader. Which is our “policy” in a nutshell. It’s appeasement of the tyrant.
Can you imagine the White House saying that “we’ll leave it up to the Honduran people to decide if Zelaya is the legitimate president of the country”?