Yesterday President Obama’s Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, described Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as “the elected leader” of Iran. Today the administration backtracked, with the help of a friendly–perhaps planted–question from the White House press corps:
QUESTION: Switching topics slightly and then we might go back to North Korea. Do you have any reaction to the swearing-in of President Ahmadinejad in Iran today?
GIBBS: Well, let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say it’s not for me to pass judgment on. 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 that. But I would simply say he’s been inaugurated and we know that is simply a fact.
QUESTION: Do you recognize him as the leader, elected fairly or not?
GIBBS: It’s not for — it’s not for me or for us to denote his legitimacy, except to acknowledge the fact.
QUESTION: Does the White House believe the election was fair?
GIBBS: That’s not for us to pass judgment on. I think that’s for the Iranian people to decide, and obviously there are many that still have a lot of questions.
Glad to have that straightened out. Increasingly, it seems that Barack Obama’s affinity for the regime in Iran is that of one corrupt government for another. Besides, if the Mullahcracy isn’t legitimate, to whom can Barack direct his apologies?