Obama's Spokesman Reminds Former Colleagues: ‘I Covered President George W. Bush’

April 9, 2012 - 4:49 PM

(CNSNews.com) – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, a former bureau chief for Time magazine, reminded his former colleagues in the White House briefing room on Monday that he had covered President George W. Bush as a reporter.

"I covered President George W. Bush..." Carney reminisced.

CNSNews.com had asked Carney: “What would be the president’s definition of judicial activism? Because he did use the term last week.”

Carney said, “I think he used it referring to commentators in the past who have bemoaned judicial activism. And I would simply note again that--well, I would say again it is slightly ironic to hear complaints about this from folks who over the years have repeatedly, happily, and publicly expressed their concern about judicial activism.”

“I covered President George W. Bush and I can remember, I can almost recite in my sleep, the lines that he would deliver regularly about the problem of judicial activism and legislating from the bench,” said Carney.

“So, the suggestion that President Obama--because President Obama was noting that history of commentary, which we all reported on for years--when he made that assessment, what he was simply saying is that if you are keeping with precedent, which nobody disputes exists, since the Lochner era, on matters like this that involve the national economy, then the president would argue that you would uphold the law and consider it constitutional" said Carney. "That was his point. Thank you all very much.”

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. (AP Photo)

Last week, in commenting on the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) before the Supreme Court, President Obama said,  “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."

"I guess I would remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint," said Obama.  "For an unelected group of people to somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law is a good example of that, and I’m pretty sure this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Carney became White House press secretary in February 2011, after Robert Gibbs stepped down from the job. Prior to that, starting in December 2008, Carney had worked as director of communications to Vice President Joe Biden.  Before that, 2005-2008, Carney was Washington bureau chief for Time, and had worked as Time’s deputy bureau chief from 2003-2005. Carney was first hired by Time in 1989 and covered the Clinton White House in the 1990s; prior to that, he had worked as a reporter for The Miami Herald.