Obama answers a reporter's question about the death of Trayvon Martin, March 23, 2012. (Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP)
White House senior adviser David Plouffe lashed out on Sunday over a pair of comments by Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to President Barack Obama's reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting.
"Those two comments are really irresponsible," Plouffe said on CNN. "I would consider them reprehensible."
"If I had a son he would look like Trayvon," Obama said on Friday.
"Is the president suggesting if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it wouldn't look like him?" Gingrich said Friday on Sean Hannity's radio show. "That's just nonsense. I mean, dividing this country up, it is a tragedy this young man was shot."
In a separate radio interview Friday, Santorum had a similar reaction.
"What the president of the United States should do is try to bring people together, not use these types of horrible and tragic individual cases to try to drive a wedge in America," Santorum said.
On Friday, Obama said Martin's parents had the "right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and we will get to the bottom of exactly what happened." On "Meet The Press," Plouffe said Obama had not called Martin's parents.
"I think those comments were really hard to stomach, really, and I guess trying to appeal to people's worst instincts," he said on Candy Crowley's "State of the Union" on CNN. "I don't think there's very many people in America that would share that reaction.
Plouffe, who managed Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, added: "You know, this Republican primary at some points has been more of a circus show and a clown show."
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- David Plouffe
- Rick Santorum
- Newt Gingrich
- Sean Hannity