President Obama largely stepped clear of politics at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, sounding a wistful note as he remarked that the nonpartisan bonhomie and prayer at the events often evaporates before he arrives back at the White House.
"I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten -- on the same day of the prayer breakfast," he said to laughter. "You'd like to think that the shelf life wasn't so short. But I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn't pray."
He added that it was his hope that "that humility carries over every day, every moment."
Less than an hour later at the White House, press Secretary Jay Carney criticized House Republicans for what he said was an "apparent willingness -- almost seeming desire" to let sweeping budget cuts called a "sequester" to take place.
He called House Speaker John Boehner's "list of demands of cuts that would have to be in place for him to agree" to forgo the sequester: "terrible."
"It's a series of measures," he said, "that basically say that seniors, middle-class families, disabled kids and others will solely bear the burden of buying down the sequester while the wealthiest get held harmless."
Carney also defended Obama's participation at the breakfast which a gay rights group, GetEQUAL, says is hosted by The Fellowship Foundation -- a conservative Christian organization also known as "The Family." GetEQUAL says the group has been linked to anti-gay legislation.
Carney suggested Obama was "not responsible for the views of every organization or person who participates" and that his views on gay and lesbian issues are "quite clear."