White House: 'No comment' on Palin 'blood libel' debate

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 11:53 AM

The White House wants no part of the debate over former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel."

In a press briefing on Thursday morning, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs acknowledged he watched Palin's statement on the Tucson shootings, but he wouldn't say if President Obama has. Gibbs refused give any White House perspective on Palin's remarks.

"I'm happy to speak to what the president said and how he came about saying it, but I'll let others opine on that," he said, declining to even utter Palin's name.

Palin's use in her statement of the controversial phrase "blood libel," which refers to anti-Semitic falsehoods dating back hundreds of years, inflamed her critics and drew condemnation from some Jewish groups.

Palin called efforts to attribute blame for the shooting "reprehensible," saying that "especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."

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