President Obama referred to the Islamic terrorists who killed several French Jews last month as people who "randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris" in an interview with liberal website Vox.com. In Tuesday's press briefing, ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest to clarify the president's position on the terrorists' motivation to attack the kosher supermarket.
"Does the president have any doubt that those terrorists attack that deli because there would be Jews in that deli?" Karl asked.
"It is clear from the terrorists and the writings that they put out afterward what their motivation was," Earnest responded. "The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible, tragic incident were killed not because of who they were but because of where they randomly happened to be."
Watch the video below:
"These individuals were not targeted by name," Earnest added.
"Not by name, but by religion, were they not?" Karl asked.
"There were people other than just Jews who were in that deli," Earnest said.
After Karl asked again if there was any doubt by the president that the shop was attacked because of the likelihood the terrorists would be able to kill Jews, Earnest finally said, "No."
Update: State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was pressed on this question as well, and she refused to speak about the motive behind the attack.
"Does the administration really believe that the victims of this attack were not singled out because they were of a particular faith?" asks AP reporter Matt Lee.
"Well, as you know, I believe if I remember the victims specifically, they were not all victims of one background or one nationality," Psaki said.
"Does the administration believe this was an anti-Jewish or an attack on a Jewish community in Paris?" Lee pressed.
"I don't think we're going to speak on behalf of French authorities," Psaki responded. Watch that video, via the Washington Free Beacon, below:
President Obama's former defense secretary and former head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, said this morning on CNN that we've entered into "a much more dangerous chapter" of the war on terror:
“I don’t think there’s any question. I think what we’re seeing ... is a much more aggressive chapter and a much more dangerous chapter in terms of the war on terrorism,” Panetta told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Paris Friday in what was billed as a show of solidarity with the French people after terrorists attacked last week. The former Massachusetts senator brought fellow Bay Stater and singer-songwriter James Taylor to sing a slightly off-key rendition of "You've Got a Friend" to a Parisian audience. Watch the video below:
John Kerry is going to France today to give "a big hug to Paris," a week after the brutal terrorist attacks there.
His plan is "to share a big hug with Paris and express the affection of the American people for France and for our friends there who have been through a terrible time," he told reporters today in Bulgaria.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will give a major foreign policy address next week in London. According to early excerpts of the address, Jindal will use the speech to bash Hillary Clinton, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, and to go after radical Islam in wake of last week's Paris terrorist attacks.
The White House won't be calling jihadists adherents to "radical Islam." At least, that's the reasonable take away from this extraordinary exchange the White House press secretary had today with a reporter:
Under a cloudless Jerusalem sky, a crowd of thousands gathered at the cemetery at Givat Shaul on Tuesday, to bury the four Jews murdered at the Hyper Cacher in Paris. Yoav Hattab, Yohan Cohen, Philippe Braham, and Francois-Michel Saada were laid to rest in Har Hamenuhot, on the approach to Jerusalem from the west.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest offered this excuse to explain why President Obama skipped the weekend rally in Paris: it would've impacted "common citizens."
"[H]ad the circumstances been a little bit different, I think the President himself would have liked to have had the opportunity to be there," Earnest said, after saying the White House should've sent a person of higher profile than just the U.S. ambassador to France.
The terrorist attacks in Paris were nightmarish in many ways, but perhaps the most worrisome news to come out of the Charlie Hebdo affair is that followers of a “pure” al Qaeda affiliate – al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula – and of ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – worked together.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that criticism that he and the Obama administration skipped the unity rally in Paris yesterday is "sort of quibbling a little bit." He made the comments at a press conference in India, after announcing that he'd be visiting France on Thursday.