The White House tends to let President Obama's campaign do its bidding on presidential politics; usually taking a pass when given the chance to respond to accusations from Republican candidates.
Yet at Friday's White House briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney couldn't help himself. He was asked about Texas Governor and candidate for president Rick Perry's criticism of the president's gay rights advocacy and whether or not that advocacy conflicted with principles of faith.
Carney's answer was billed as an attempt to avoid engaging in politics, yet the swipe was clear.
"I'm fairly certain the President is not even aware of those accusations," he began. "And I think that I'll limit my comment on the struggling state of some presidential campaigns. I will say that the President is a man of faith, as you all know, and I will also say that our record on LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] issues is one that we're very proud of."
Governor Perry issued an ad earlier this week which took on the president's "war on religion." In it, Perry says, "[T]here's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."
Yet, try as they might, the GOP candidates don't often get the engagement with the president that they seem to be seeking. Obama 2012 surrogates cover that ground for now.
The president is often asked for, but usually defers, any direct response to tweaking by his opponents. He says there will be plenty of time for campaigning. Mr. Obama is already doing that, however, raising millions for his re-election at various fundraisers.
Still, the Obama camp likes to say they're waiting until the Republican Party whittles down their candidate count and there is but one opponent to address.