New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest – on his first official day on the job – got into a testy exchange with a reporter, telling one of them, “You don’t have to get all exercised about this.”
Earlier in the briefing, Earnest took a question from Jon-Christopher Bua, of Huffington Post UK, about whether President Barack Obama had spoken to European leaders, in a question that dealt with Iraq.
In what was the last formal question of the briefing, Bloomberg reporter Roger Runningen asked about a call that morning between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When veteran journalist Bill Plante commented that Earnest’s response offered a “buried nugget of news,” Earnest shot back that “it took Roger’s nose for news to ask.”
After the final question, Alexis Simendinger, a Real Clear Politics reporter, said “That’s not true,” noting he was asked earlier about conversations with world leaders.
Earnest said, “Alexis, you don’t have to get all exercised about this.”
Another reporter mentioned, “It’s a reasonable question.”
Simendinger responded, “We asked you a question, you should answer the question.”
Earnest said, “I did.”
“No you didn’t,” Simendinger responded. “You said, you had no calls to read out.”
“I was asked if the president had conversations with world leaders about the situation in Iraq,” Earnest said.
The reporter responded, “Oh, so we should go around the map every day?”
Earnest dismissed it saying, “OK. Thanks everybody.”