On Fox and Friends this morning, Elizabeth Hasselbeck had this exchange with Obama’s close adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett answers Hasselbeck’s question, “why won’t the President say Islamic extremism or radical Islam?,” by pointing out that there are other forms of terrorism, and that the U.S. is working with some Muslim countries against terrorism. Neither is an adequate answer. There are indeed other forms of terrorism, but that does not lessen the responsibility of government and law enforcement officials to speak honestly about and understand thoroughly the threat we face. And the fact that we are fighting terrorism alongside Muslim countries likewise doesn’t excuse Administration officials from the responsibility to address the jihad ideology — in fact, they would better understand the true nature and limitations of those alliances, and finally realize why all those counter-terror billions sent to Pakistan have accomplished absolutely nothing, if they did so.
Hasselbeck: Thanks for being here. I want to ask you this: for the first time since 9/11, the words al-Qaeda were not used in a State of the Union address. Why is it, in fact, because I think the American people deserve accurate terminology here, why won’t the President say Islamic extremism or radical Islam? Why?
Jarrett: Well, first of all, there is nothing more important to the President than the safety and the security of the American people. That’s his focus. That’s his first priority. That’s what he’s dedicated to doing. And many of the countries who are helping us fight terrorism are Islamic majority countries. And let’s look right here at home, where there is a Sikh temple in Wisconsin or a, uh, the Holocaust Museum right here in Washington, D.C. Those were terrorists. Those were extremists, but they weren’t of any particular faith. And so before we start throwing around labels, let’s look more broadly at terrorism. Let’s not limit it. Let’s look broadly at it and let’s attack it together, and that’s what the president is absolutely —
Hasselbeck: Miss Jarrett, there are other nations, leaders that have come out with specifics in terms of saying radical Islam. Does the president find it more offensive that radical Islam exists or the term radical Islam? Which is more offensive to the president?
Jarrett: You know what, I think his philosophy is let’s keep America safe and let’s focus on that. Let’s put the American people’s safety first. Let’s use both our diplomatic and our military power. We’re the strongest military power in the world. But he also believes in diplomacy. Let’s focus on that and let’s keep our perspective and let’s look wherever we can across the world, working with our allies and partners on seeing what we can do to end terrorism of all forms.