White House spokesman tries to explain POTUS snub of Rhodey Dem nominee for governor.
Earlier: After Obama declines to endorse him, Guv candidate Caprio tells the president to “shove it,” says “he’s coming into Rhode Island treating us like an ATM machine.”
Air Force One wheels down at 3:49 under cloudy skies.
Burton gaggled at the beginning of the flight.
Highlights with transcript to come:
On the Caprio anger, Burton said that POTUS is “really thrilled” to be going to Rhode Island, but Burton took several chances to side-step questions about POTUS’s role as head of the party and his decision not to endorse the Democrat.
“Out of respect for his friend Lincoln Chafee, the president decided to stay out of the race,” Burton said.
As for Caprio saying that POTUS can take his endorsement and “shove it,” Burton said that this close to the election “emotions are running high.”
Pooler pressed Burton on disconnect between WH saying it is doing everything it can for Dem candidates and POTUS’s decision not to endorse Democrat Caprio.
“The president’s feeling is he has respect for his friend Lincoln Chafee, and he’s not going to get involved in this race.”
Burton declined to answer hypothetical question about whether POTUS would vote for Caprio if POTUS lived in R.I.
On reports that Iran is giving bagfuls of cash to Karzai, Burton said he has seen the reports and Iran as a responsibility like the rest of Afghanistan’s neighbors to help. Check transcript for rest. Pooler couldn’t hear this section.
On POTUS’s mood just more than a week out from elections day:
“He’s in a fighting mood.”
Burton said that POTUS remarked to him before Marine One took off that he was “enthusiastic to get out there.”
He said POTUS’s “spirits are high.”