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Odd White House Press Briefing Exchange—in Russian!

10:09 PM, Jul 9, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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White House press secretary Jay Carney had an odd exchange with a reporter at today's press briefing—in Russian! Via the official White House transcript: 

Q    (Speaks in Russian.)

MR. CARNEY:  (Speaks in Russian.)

Q    (Speaks in Russian.)

Here's video:

And here's the full context of the exchange, via the White House transcript:

Q    One final question.  Do you believe there is any international mechanism for producing a result in Syria without Russia and China?
     MR. CARNEY:  We’ve made very clear that Russia and China and the United States have disagreements about Syria, and that we strongly disagree with the vetoes that those countries put forth on measures before the United Nations Security Council. 
We continue to have discussions with the Russians and the Chinese in a very blunt and clear fashion about why we think we need to come together around the proposition that a transition needs to take place -- and there’s agreement on that -- and that that transition cannot include Assad.  And we are continuing to have conversations with the Russians about this. 
And our fundamental point is, Russia’s -- it is in nobody’s interest to stand by Bashar al-Assad.  That’s our point to those in his inner circle, to those in the military and governmental leadership.  We have seen a great number of defections, including a recent high-level military defection, somebody from Assad’s inner circle. 
And it is our message internationally that it doesn’t make sense, as a matter of self-interest for any nation to stand by an international pariah.  And it doesn’t make sense for the future relations of any country with the Syrian people to stand by Assad. 
I think Jim, I owe you one.
Q    (Speaks in Russian.)
MR. CARNEY:  (Speaks in Russian.)
Q    (Speaks in Russian.) 
     With the federal debt approaching $16 trillion, does the President’s call for continued tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, as he repeatedly said today, and thus preventing huge revenue increases that would help reduce the debt -- does that represent an acknowledgement by him that the economy is still doing poorly and that his previous steps to boost it have not worked?

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