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This is not the kind of publicity John Kasich needs.

The Ohio governor and underdog Republican presidential candidate appeared on CNN last night, in order to clarify his statement earlier that day praising the women “who left their kitchens” to campaign for him in his first run for public office in the 1970s. (As we pointed out, this was actually true of how many campaigns worked in decades past — but it does get a bit dated to reminisce about it in the year 2016.)

But in his effort to bring this controversy under control, Kasich just couldn’t stop being really awkward about it.

“Well, you know look, Wolf, I mean, anybody’d be offended — of course,” Kasich sputtered out. “Sometimes when you operate on the high wire without a net, sometimes you know, you’ll fall off and not say things exactly the way you want to.

“But let me be clear: In the beginning of my campaign for public office, I did town halls — except they were in people’s homes, they were at breakfast tables, they were during — at evening, when we had coffee, and I recruited people. And I want to be clear, we had a lot of women that played a major role in my political campaign, political life, and they still do.”

Indeed, he touted that his chief of staff when he became governor was a woman, who is now running his campaign; his lieutenant governor is a woman; he appointed a woman to the Ohio Supreme Court; and many other women serve in his cabinet and other high-level government positions.

“Look, governor,” Wolf Blitzer responded, “a lot of women think it was insulting. Why not just say, ‘I made a mistake, I’m sorry.'”

“Sure, I’m sorry — anybody who’s offended, of course. I’m not — look, it’s not — of course. I’m more than happy to say I’m sorry if I offended somebody else out there. But it wasn’t intended to be offensive, and if you hear the whole thing you’ll understand the context of it.

“But look, all I’m saying to you, Wolf, is that without the power of the women who helped me out early in my career, to give me a chance to hold public office, I wouldn’t have made it, and I’m very grateful to all the work that they put in for me, and many of them that still do.”

Video via CNN.

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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was forced to defend President Donald Trump's recent attacks on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, an unenviable task she nevertheless intentionally signed up for. She desperately tried to divert the attention back to Scarborough — without engaging in the president's conspiracy theorizing — but offered no credible defense of the president's conduct.

Trump has been spreading the debunked theory that Scarborough killed a staffer in 2001 while he was in Congress, even though it was determined she died of natural causes. The staffer's widower wrote a released a letter on Tuesday pleading with Twitter to take down the president's offensive tweets promoting the thoery. He said he was "angry," "frustrated," and "grieved" by the president's promotion of the harmful allegations. Trump is perverting his late wife's memory, he said, and he fears her niece and nephews will encounter these attacks.When asked about the letter, McEnany said she wasn't sure if the president had seen it. But she said their "hearts" are with the woman's family "at this time." It was a deeply ironic comment because the only particularly traumatizing thing about "this time" for the family is the president's attacks, which come nearly two decades after the woman's death.

McEnany refused to offer any explanation of Trump's comments and instead redirected reporters to a clip of Scarborough on Don Imus's radio show in 2003. In that show, Imus made a tasteless joke obliquely referring to the death, and Scarborough laughed at it briefly.

"Why is the president making these unfounded allegations?" asked ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "I mean, this is pretty nuts, isn't it? The president is accusing someone of possible murder. The family is pleading with the president to please stop unfounded conspiracy theories. Why is he doing it?""The president said this morning, this is not an original Trump thought. And it is not," she said, bringing up the Imus clip. But she made no mention of why the president is bringing up the issue 17 years later and with a much larger platform.

When pressed further on the president's conduct, she again diverted blame to Scarborough, saying his morning show unfairly criticizes the president. But again, she offered no substantive defense of Trump.

After McEnany had moved on, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor brought it up again: "Why won't the president give this widower peace and stop tweeting about the conspiracy theory involving his wife?"

McEnany said she had already answered the question, which she hadn't, and said the onus is on Scarborough to explain the Imus clip."The widower is talking specifically about the president!" Alcindor shot back. But McEnany called on Chanel Rion, with the aggressively pro-Trump outlet OAN, who changed the subject to conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation.

"Are you not going to answer that?" Alcindor called out, still trying to get a substantive response to her question, but Rion spoke over her.

At the end of the briefing, another reporter asked whether Trump was looking for any actual law enforcement steps be taken in response to his conspiracy theory. But McEnany had nothing to add, and simply told people to listen to the Imus clip again. As she hurried out of the briefing room, a reporter asked if Trump would stop promoting the theory — but she left without answering.

Watch the exchange about Klausutis, which begins at 48:45.