White House to Rick Perry: We won’t respond to ‘struggling ... campaigns’

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry had some fighting words for President Obama in his new “Strong” ad campaign this week.

In a 31-second soft-focus spot, the Texas governor questions the president’s faith and declares that Obama’s policies, including allowing gays to serve openly in the military, amount to a “war on religion.”

Now the White House is striking back with perhaps the most stinging type of rebuke: the silent treatment.

Asked Friday about Perry’s attack on Obama’s religious faith, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said: “I’m sure the president is not even aware of these accusations.”

So, another reporter followed up, what does the White House think about the ad?

“I’m going to limit my comments on the struggling state of some campaigns,” Carney replied, moving on to unrelated questions.

That is quite different than the Obama team’s aggressive approach to the frontrunning campaigns of Mitt Romney and, more recently, Newt Gingrich. Obama surrogates have hit the airwaves to press criticisms of both men in recent weeks.

Perhaps the White House is content to let viewers do the talking for them. Though more than 3.2 million people had viewed the Perry spot on YouTube as of Friday afternoon, 459,000 had hit the social media site’s “dislike” button and only 11,000 had hit “like.”

Perry’s team apparently wasn’t interested in hearing much from viewers. The comments section under the video had been disabled by the uploader.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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