I happened to be interviewing top Obama adviser David Axelrod this morning on another topic, so I got a chance to quickly ask him for a response to Mark Halperin’s claim that Obama was “kind of a dick” at yesterday’s presser — a crack that has now earned Halperin an indefinite suspension.

Axelrod condemned the remark, but he also took the high road, suggesting it was likely a “mistake” that shouldn’t be seen as representative of Halperin’s career.

“What he said was obviously stupid and tasteless, and he exercised poor judgment,” Axelrod said. “I think he’d be the first to acknowledge that. I strongly disagree with his analysis. But I’ve known him for decades. He’s a decent person and a good journalist. I’m sure that no one regrets this more than he does.”

Axelrod declined to comment on MSNBC’s decision to suspend Halperin indefinitely, but he seemed to hint that he thought the punishment might be giving too much weight to this one incident.

“I’m not going to comment on a network’s hiring and firing policies,” he said. “But I do think you have to take into account who the guy is and what he’s done over the long course of his career. While I disagree iwth him, and while he clearly made a mistake here, I don’t think it characterizes the sweep of his career.”