- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

White House press secretary Joshua Earnest said Wednesday he’s confident Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, will “find a way to apologize” once he takes another look at Tuesday remarks he made about President Obama’s criticism of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.

On Tuesday, Mr. Brown criticized what he called “disrespectful” comments Mr. Obama had made about Ms. Warren, who has been a fierce critic of the president’s push for a trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations.

“I think by just calling her ‘another politician,’” Mr. Brown said, according to Politico. “I’m not going to get into more details. I think referring to her as first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps? I’ve said enough.”

“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” Mr. Obama had said in a weekend interview with Yahoo News.

The rift between Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats like Ms. Warren and Mr. Brown over trade came to a head Tuesday, when Democrats filibustered to prevent the beginning of debate on so-called “fast-track” trade authority, which would give Mr. Obama the ability to negotiate trade deals and send them to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments.

Mr. Earnest praised Mr. Brown Wednesday morning, but predicted that once he got a chance to take another look at his comments, he’d find a way to make amends.

“As somebody who gets paid to talk in public for a living, I try to be mindful of…at least [trying] to be slow to criticize people who say things in public that are so inconsistent with their reputation and with their character, and Senator Brown is somebody that has a good relationship with the president,” Mr. Earnest said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “They’ve worked effectively on a range of issues, including nominating and confirming the first woman to be the chair of the Federal Reserve. Senator Brown is a stand-up guy, and I’m confident that after he’s had a chance to take a look at the comments that he made yesterday, that he’ll find a way to apologize.”

Mr. Earnest said the president has referred to his former colleagues in the Senate by their first names, and pointed out that Ms. Warren used to work for Mr. Obama in the administration.

“So the president has a personal relationship with Senator Warren - it’s not surprising that he would call her by her first name the same way that he calls senators by their first name, and the fact is we can have a disagreement on substantive issues, but the fact is that we agree on most of them,” Mr. Earnest said.

“President Obama and Senator Warren and other Democrats in the United States Senate have worked together on a variety of issues that are critically important to middle-class families, and whether that’s implementing Wall Street reform or making sure that we have a budget that reflects the economic priorities that exist in this country for middle class families, usually they’re able to fight right alongside Democrats, but in this case we have a fundamental disagreement,” he said.

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