At Wednesday’s daily White House briefing, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if President Obama had any response to the closing of the Wichita clinic that Dr. George Tiller ran before he was murdered by an anti-abortion crusader. Gibbs replied, no. Nothing about this being the sad consequence of a tragic event. Nothing about how this means that an anti-terrorist has won. Just nothing. Obama has a strong record of supporting abortion rights, but pro-choicers may be disappointed by this silence.
I also asked Gibbs about Newt Gingrich’s recent dig at Vice President Joe Biden, in which the former House speaker said the “elite media” has had to “prop up Joe Biden and pretend he actually knows what he’s doing.” Gibbs offered up the routine praise for Biden, noting that the veep is one of Obama’s “most trusted” advisers. “We are lucky and grateful to have him,” Gibbs said. Gibbs, though, did not take a swipe at Gingrich. What might that mean? That the White House wants to play nice with Gingrich, who a few weeks ago met with Obama (with Al Sharpton present) to discuss education policy. Or that the White House doesn’t see Gingrich as a useful political piñata. Maybe both.