During the White House briefing today, Jay Carney was asked about the two big news stories over the weekend:
Q. And just quickly, did the President watch the South Carolina results over the weekend, anything to that? And also, any reaction to Joe Paterno’s death?
MR. CARNEY: I haven’t discussed with him the results in the South Carolina primary, so I just — I don’t know. Again, I think I’ve — my guess is he read about them and didn’t watch them. But I don’t have a reaction for you on that. And I’ll have to — I don’t have anything on Joe Paterno’s death either at this point.
Not so insightful there on the former, believable on the latter.
Later, the White House put out this statement (Ethan Klapper is the online editor for National Journal):
Earlier today, President Obama spoke with the late Joe Paterno’s wife, Sue, and son, Jay, to offer his condolences for their family’s loss. During their conversation, the President recalled fond memories of when he first met Coach Paterno and said that he and Michelle would keep the Paterno family in their prayers during this difficult time.
That is a rather careful statement that falls well short of what is typically put out by politicians when a prominent person dies.
Tough spot for the White House here, given the accusations, the strong feelings many have on Paterno and Penn State, and … well … it is Pennsylvania.