Ed Henry to Earnest: Does Obama Regret Calling Bush "Unpatriotic" For Adding $4 Trillion To The Debt?

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At Friday's White House press briefing, FOX News' Ed Henry asked press secretary Josh Earnest if President Obama had any regrets about calling then-President Bush "unpatriotic" for adding $4 trillion to the national debt when he was a Senator running for president. Henry's question followed Earnest's response to Rudy Giuliani's comment that President Obama doesn't love America.

Earnest said he felt "sorry" for Giuliani and said the former NYC mayor has tarnished his legacy.

"Josh, given your sorrow for Rudy Giuliani do you think the president has any regrets about saying President Bush was unpatriotic for adding $4 trillion to the debt?" asked Ed Henry.

"I haven't seen the actual comments," Earnest said. "I don't know if you have it there in front of you."

"He said that the president, I'm paraphrasing this part, had added about $4 trillion to the debt and then he said, quote, 'that's irresponsible, that's unpatriotic.' I see a difference from Giuliani because he's talking about an issue. But nonetheless, questioning the patriotism of the president of the United States," Henry said.

Earnest said Obama questioned the "specific wisdom of that decision," he was not calling President Bush unpatriotic.

"He didn't say it was unwise, he said that's unpatriotic," Henry responded.

"Right, but again, he was talking about that, he wasn't talking about a person," Earnest said.

Earnest used this as an opportunity to discuss the "level of discourse" in politics.

"There are significant challenges facing this country and sort of resorting to a politics in which we question each others' basic decency is not consistent with the reason that a lot of people got into public service," Earnest said.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: Josh, given your sorrow for Rudy Giuliani do you think the president has any regrets about saying President Bush was unpatriotic for adding $4 trillion to the debt?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Ed, I don't know that sorrow is the word that I would use.

HENRY: You said you feel sorry for Rudy Giuliani.

EARNEST: Yeah, I do. I do feel sorry for him.

HENRY: You feel sorry, but does the president have any regrets, regardless of what Giuliani said? As a candidate, Senator Obama said that President Bush was unpatriotic.

EARNEST: I think -- again, I haven't seen the actual comments. I don't know if you have it there in front of you.

HENRY: He said that the president, I'm paraphrasing this part, had added about $4 trillion to the debt and then he said, quote, "that's irresponsible, that's unpatriotic." I see a difference from Giuliani because he's talking about an issue. But nonetheless, questioning the patriotism of the president of the United States.

EARNEST: I think that what the president was doing was he was questioning the specific wisdom of that decision and questioning whether or not that was in the best interest of the country.

HENRY: He didn't say it was unwise, he said that's unpatriotic.

EARNEST: Right, but again, he was talking about that, he wasn't talking about a person. And, again, I think there's a lot that the president also had to say in the State of the Union and the level of our discourse. There is no doubt that we are going to have significant disagreement across the aisle. And that is ultimately what a democracy is all about, where we go in and debate issues.

But the president as you'll recall said during the State of the Union said we should have a debate that's worthy of the United States Congress and worthy of the country. There are significant challenges facing this country and sort of resorting to a politics in which we question each others' basic decency is not consistent with the reason that a lot of people got into public service.

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