It had to happen, the very first question at today’s White House press briefing was about the the “chickenshit” comment made about Bibi Netanyahu by a senior White House official published in the Atlantic by Jeff Goldberg.

Notice in the video below that the White House Press Secretary doesn’t deny the smear was made. Notice the hard time Earnest has with his own words, as if he didn’t believe them himself.

Darlene Superville, Associated Press: Is it appropriate for a senior administration official to refer to the Israeli Prime Minister as chicken**** and does that description represent the view of the administration at large up to and including the president?

Earnest: Well, Darlene, as a general matter, not related to that story, I will tell you that my job often involves taken the product you just described and turning it into chicken salad. So, I will do my best to answer your question in a straightforward way.

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The fact is that comments like that do not reflect the administration’s view and we do believe that they are counterproductive. The prime minister and the president have forged an effective partnership. They consult closely and frequently and did so as recently as this month here at the White House in the Oval Office…

Superville: Speaker Boehner just issued a pretty strong statement where he says that the president is the one who sets the tone for administration and that an administration official who would say something like this should basically be shown the door. So, does the president know who said that? Will there be any sorts of consequences for that person?

It’s a pretty interesting observation by the Speaker of the House who you all know has a penchant for using some pretty salty language himself. So it is a little rich to have a lecture about profanity from the Speaker of the House.

Reporter (off camera): Has he ever said that about the prime minister or the president?

Earnest: I don’t know, you would have to ask him.

Reporter: You’re making a direct comparison.

Earnest: He has reportedly said that about the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. As long as we are talking about respect, I think that is notable. I will say that as a general matter that I am not aware of who made those comments to Mr.[Jeffery] Goldberg. I do not know if the president knows who made those comments. I would be surprised if he did.