White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Wednesday said he had misspoken in calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran's elected leader and that Washington will let the Iranian people decide whether Iran's election was fair.Good save, Gibbsy. Good save. Of course, his retraction didn't come nearly fast enough, as Iran's state-owned PressTV quickly and proudly announced the formal diplomatic recognition in an article entitled "Ahmadinejad is Iran's elected leader, US official says":
"Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. I denoted that Mr. Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran. I would say that's not for me to pass judgment on," Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One.
"He's been inaugurated. That's a fact. Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we'll let them decide about that."
Obama and the leaders of France, Britain, Italy and Germany have all decided not to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election. Gibbs had called Ahmadinejad Iran's "elected leader" on Tuesday during a briefing.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the 'elected leader' of Iran when asked if President Obama would recognize Iran's disputed election.Ouch. I'm sure Gibbsy's retraction will totally clear all of this up inside Iran, especially with the internet (and liberty) deprived Iranian protesters.
But here's my question: since when is it not a good idea for the White House to "pass judgment" on the fairness of another country's political process? Methinks the Honduran government would beg to differ.