Roberts Apologizes, Calls Choice Of Words "Unfortunate"

A question posed to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan at this morning's "gaggle" by CBS White House correspondent John Roberts has attracted quite a bit of chatter on the Internet. Of course, the topic of the day is the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, and the question from Roberts, was, "Scott, you said that – or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?"

Public Eye asked Roberts about the incident and reaction and here's what he said:

"At the morning White House gaggle, I used an unfortunate choice of words in a question to Scott McClellan. Please be assured that there was no pejorative intent to my question. I was merely attempting to reconcile past statements about Harriet Miers with the President's new nominee for the Supreme Court.

The early morning White House gaggle is an informal, free-wheeling and often irreverent forum, which is not broadcast and generally not publicly available.

Obviously, my tone this morning was a little too casual.

As we all experience from time to time, it was one of those 'oops' moments which we wish we could rewind and re-record.

I apologize to anyone who took offense to my poor choice of words. I can assure you I meant none."

UPDATE: Roberts also apologized to McClellan at the more formal, on-camera press briefing this afternoon. Following a back-and-forth between McClellan and NBC correspondent David Gregory, in which the press secretary mentioned there was no need to be rude, it was Roberts' turn to ask a question. He said:
"Scott, on the subject of rude, my apologies for my unfortunate choice of words this morning to you."