Surprise: Unexpected guest stops by the White House press briefing

President Obama has been taking a bunch of flak lately for giving a noticeably large chunk of his media time to outlets like Entertainment Tonight and local radio, and especially for not meeting with the White House press corps for months, while allowing his campaign surrogates to field some of the more tricky issues with the mainstream media. Looks like Team Obama wanted to quell the criticisms, as President Obama made an unscheduled appearance at the White House press briefing Monday afternoon. The President took various questions from the press corps, saying that the use of chemical or biological weapons by the Syrian government would be a “red line” for possible U.S. military intervention; disputing the idea that he’s running an overly negative campaign; and weighing in on recent rape-related remarks by Rep. Todd Akin as “offensive.”

“Let me first of all say the views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t makes sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama told reporters.

There was also more of the standard fare about the many ways in which our darned obstructionist Congress is spitefully neglecting to implement President Obama’s jobs-and-economy-related agenda, but then there was this beautifully blatant moment of out-of-control campaign-tone denial, emphasis mine:

Well, first of all I am not sure that all of those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate. For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon. And, I think that what is absolutely true is if you watch me on the campaign trail, here’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how to put Americans back to work.

Er… really? Flashback to July:

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter suggested that Mitt Romney may be a criminal on a conference call with reporters this morning about a Boston Globe report that shows that Romney stayed at Bain Capital three years past when he said he’d left.

Cutter said that there were two ways to interpret the story. The first: Mitt Romney was “misrepresenting his position” at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission, “which is a felony.”

Or, he was “misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people. If that’s the case, if he was lying to the American people, that’s a real character and trust issue,” Cutter said.