Some people have wondered what President Obama actually thought about the appointment — and subsequent withdrawal — of Charles Freeman, since the choice was made by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and not the president. So far, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has scrupulously providing much of an answer to that question. Here’s an exchange from Friday, in which he also evaded the question of the alleged involvement of the "Israel Lobby" by saying that "I don’t think a lot about it":
Q Why didn’t he go to bat for Charles Freeman, who had great experience in the Middle East? He stood mute on the whole controversy.
MR. GIBBS: Well, I think we talked about Mr. Freeman a couple of days ago. He’s somebody who’s served the country greatly, but asked that his nomination not proceed, and the Director of National Intelligence accepted —
Q Is it true that it’s the Israeli lobby that killed —
MR. GIBBS: I don’t have a whole lot to add. I think that — I’ve watched with great interest how people perceive different things about our policy and during the campaign, about whether we were too close to one group or too close to the other. So I don’t give a lot of thought to those —
Q Do you think it’s their fault, the perception?
MR. GIBBS: I don’t think a lot about it.
Q I don’t ask you to think about it. I asked for straight answers.
MR. GIBBS: And I gave you as straight of one as I can get.