In a hasty and wise bit of damage control, president-elect Barack Obama quickly telephoned former First Lady Nancy Reagan this afternoon to apologize for “a careless and offhanded remark” he made about her this morning during his first post-election news conference.
Obama was asked how he was preparing to take over the White House, what books he’s reading, if he’d talked to any ex-presidents. He replied:
“In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living. Obviously, President Clinton — I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.”
The passing reference to the former First Lady’s alleged interest in horoscopes struck some observers as a gratuitous slap at an old lady at a time Obama was trying to set a positive, professed bipartisan tone for his transition.
The Obama press office received numerous inquiries for explanation and reaction. And this afternoon issued the following statement:
““President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off-handed remark he made during today’s press conference.
“The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation,” said President-elect Obama Transition Team Spokesperson Stephanie Cutter.”
–Andrew Malcolm; The Los Angeles Times