Pardon her French: What did the State Department spokeswoman call the alleged Obama-Netanyahu transcript?


President Obama, right, talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 6, 2010, as they walk to Netanyahu’s car outside the Oval Office of the White House. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The State Department has added a new phrase to its diplomatic lexicon: “Complete crap.”

It’s not the most artful term, but it really gets right to the heart of an argument, doesn’t it?

During the daily press briefing Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was asked about an alleged transcript of a conversation between President Obama and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that leaked Tuesday, wherein Obama says Israel needed to stop its military activities in Gaza. Both countries have been adamant that the transcript is a fake, saying it “bears no resemblance to reality.”

Or, as Harf put it, “it’s complete crap.”

The reporter begins to continue the question before laughing and asking, as if not sure he heard right, “complete crap?”

“Complete crap, yes,” Harf said.

“That’s a diplomatic term?”

“That’s a technical term, there,” Harf said.

While we cannot confirm that this is the first use of “complete crap” as an official government statement, we can say that, according to Sunlight Foundation’s database of the Congressional Record, it’s never been used on the House or Senate floor — at least not on the record.

But maybe there’s something in the water? Just a few weeks ago, according to the Star-Ledger, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said criticism of him over a decision not to allow electric car maker Tesla to sell vehicles in its own showrooms was, “complete crap.”

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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