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WH addresses memorial controversies

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday it was a "shame" that a trio of controversies stemming from Nelson Mandela's memorial service Tuesday appeared to overshadow the event itself.

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Earnest was asked about reports that an impostor had provided a fake sign language translation on the stage where the president and other world leaders stood.

"I think my only reaction to that is that it's a shame that you had a service that was dedicated to honoring the life and celebrating the legacy of one of the great leaders of the 20th century has gotten distracted by this and a couple of other issues that are far less important than the legacy of Nelson Mandela," Earnest said.

The White House spokesman was presumably referring to outrage over the president's decision to shake hands with Cuban leader Raúl Castro, which Republican lawmakers denounced, as well as controversy caused by President Obama posing for a "selfie" with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt.

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