Threats

White House walks back Obama comment suggesting Paris attack random

The White House clarified Tuesday that the terror attack last month on a Kosher market in Paris was in fact motivated by anti-Semitism, after President Obama drew criticism for suggesting it was random.

The president had addressed the Islamist terror attack, which coincided with the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office, in an interview with Vox.com.

Obama said he thinks the media sometimes overstate the terrorist threat, because, “if it bleeds, it leads.” He also said it is legitimate for Americans to be deeply concerned “when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

While Obama took heat for faulting the media, he also raised eyebrows for suggesting the Kosher market attack was random.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was peppered with questions at Tuesday’s briefing, and claimed Obama was only referring to individuals who randomly happened to be at the market that day.

Shortly afterward, though, both he and his State Department counterpart gave a more direct response.

“Our view has not changed. Terror attack at Paris Kosher market was motivated by anti-Semitism. POTUS didn't intend to suggest otherwise,” Earnest tweeted.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted: “We have always been clear that the attack on the kosher grocery store was an anti-semitic attack that took the lives of innocent people.”

The clarification comes after the administration was hit for the “randomly” comment on social media.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., slammed the president for the suggestion.

"The absurdity of this logic is apparent when extended to a hypothetical attack at a synagogue, or a church, or an American embassy," Moran said Tuesday. "Are we really to accept this idea: that the chance of diversity among visitors to a place somehow disqualifies the possibility that members of the group who predominantly frequent that place might be targeted?"

Fox News’ Ed Henry and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.