Word is out that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has 9,486 ways to not answer a question during a press conference. But he will discuss it with the president and get back to whoever asked it.
According to a Yahoo News analysis of 444 briefings through June 18, Carney has used some variation of “I don’t have the answer” more than 1,900 times, and has referred a question to someone else in 1,383 cases.
In all fairness to Carney, he has had to field questions regarding numerous scandals plaguing the administration lately, but it is his job to craft the message for the president and serve as crisis control.
It was noted in the Yahoo study that Carney used the following answers – and the number of times he’s used them:
“I don’t have the answer … ” 1905 times
“I would refer you to … ” 1383 times
“You already know the answer … ” 1125 times
“I’m not going to tell you … ” 939 times
“Not that I know of … ” 927 times
“I don’t want to … ” 588 times
“I’m not sure … ” 549 times
“I won’t speculate … ” 525 times
“No comment … ” 429 times
“I’ll get back to you …” 387 times
“It’s a good question … ” 381 times
“See yesterday’s nonresponse … ” 231 times
“The President won’t tell me … ” 117 times
Total: 9,486 evasions
But perhaps Carney really doesn’t have all the answers.
“We have a team here that works really hard trying to anticipate the questions you’re going to ask. The problem is, there’s a lot of you and you’re good at your jobs and you’re smart. And we almost invariably do not anticipate every question that you ask. So sometimes we don’t have the answers, and sometimes we need to go back and get them,” Carney said during the May 22 briefing according to Yahoo.
While Carney’s behavior may be amusing to some, it has been noted that it is a wonder the White House press corps continues to put up with it. It’s not out of the realm to say that a press secretary for a Republican administration, who was so dismissive and patronizing to the media, would not have enjoyed the leeway Carney has been given.
But if you ask him about that, I’m sure he’ll have to get back to you.
Here is Yahoo’s intereactive tool to find out how Carney avoids questions:
The Politico released a fun video highlighting some of Carney’s usual answers back on May 14:
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