White House: We Should Have Sent Bigwig to Paris

But security made it impossible for Obama, Biden
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 12, 2015 1:37 PM CST
White House: We Should Have Sent Bigwig to Paris
White House Press secretary Josh Earnest speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In a rare public admission of error, the White House said today the US should have sent a high-level official to an anti-terror march in Paris that was attended by more than 40 world leaders. The Obama administration was represented yesterday by the US ambassador to France, though Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for security meetings. "It's fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. Earnest did emphasize the White House's previous defense over the no-show: that the elaborate security apparatus required for presidential travel prohibited President Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden, from traveling to Paris on short notice.

"There's no doubt that had the president or vice president, on this very short time frame, gone to participate in this event that took place outdoors with more than a million people in attendance, that it would have significantly impacted the ability of those who attended the march to participate in the way they did yesterday," Earnest said. Secretary of State John Kerry was on a long-planned trip to India yesterday. The Justice Department hasn't said why Holder could not stay for the event. The State Department said Kerry would travel to Paris this week to show solidarity with the French people. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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