White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs offers a safe, cautious, bland statement on Sen. Roland Burris:
QUESTION: You were asked a couple times yesterday about the President’s reaction to the revelations about Roland Burris. Have you had a chance to talk to him? Does he have a reaction?
GIBBS: I have to say I have neglected to speak with him, but I will give you this: Obviously the people of Illinois have been through a lot in the past few weeks. And obviously Sen. Burris was seated based in some way on the representations that he made to the U.S. Senate and to the committee in Illinois investigating Gov. Blagojevich and as well in interviews that the people of Illinois heard. I think in many ways he was seated based on those representations, and I think that the people of Illinois deserve to know–based on some of the things that have happened over the past few days–deserve to know the full extent of any involvement, and I think that is likely to come out as part of some of the investigations that are now ongoing.
There’s not much to object to in that statement, nor is there much to applaud; it’s mush.
But I was rather intrigued that the White House press corps asks Gibbs about Burris “a couple times,” and Gibbs hasn’t gotten, or can’t get, the president’s reaction to this. I realize the president is a busy guy, and he’s got a lot on his plate right now. But the perjury allegations arose about four days ago, and again, this was Obama’s seat. This is his home state; heck, the President is a constituent of Burris’s. Of course this is a thorny and uncomfortable topic, and any non-mush statement would have to either give Burris the benefit of the doubt or concede the “resign now” crowd has a point. But those tough calls come with the job.
Avoiding the topic for as long as possible is kind of like . . . I don’t know, voting “present” or something.