Twice at his press conference today President Obama was asked about “provocative or distasteful statements” from Democrats and liberal commentators, and twice he opted not to weigh in.
In the wake of the firestorm of media coverage and criticism of conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh’s crass insults of an activist from Georgetown Law School, many conservatives have argued that there is seldom, if ever, a similar outcry when liberal commentators say similarly crude things about conservative women.
There’s no shortage of examples, from MSNBC’s Ed Schultz calling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a “right wing slut“ to Current’s Keith Olbermann assailing conservative commentator Michelle Malkin as a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it,” to unflattering remarks made by HBO comedian Bill Maher about former Governor Sarah Palin. (Maher recently pledged a $1 million contribution to the Super-PAC that supports President Obama, which is run by former top White House aides.)
The first time the president was asked about a “double standard,” he didn’t answer the question (It came as part 3 of a three-part question about Limbaugh). When CNN’s Jessica Yellin asked about Democrats referring to the Republican party’s “war on women,” the president begged off, saying, “if I start being in the business of arbitrating that the – ”
“You talk about civility,” Yellin interrupted.
“Right, and what I do is, I practice it,” said the president. “And so I’m going to try to lead by example in this situation, as opposed to commenting on every single comment that’s made by either politicians or pundits. I would be very busy. I would not have time to do my job. That’s your job — to comment on what’s said by politicians and pundits.”