By Justin Sink - 10/23/14 03:36 PM EDT
Hagan: Obama's leadership lacking
President Obama has not shown strong leadership on certain issues, Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganPhoto finish predicted for Trump, Clinton in North Carolina Are Senate Republicans facing an election wipeout? Clinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race MORE (D-N.C.) said in an interview Thursday with NBC News.
When asked the question, Hagan at first said the president "has a lot on his plate."
“And it seems like, whether it’s the oil spill that took place a number of years ago in the Gulf, to this Ebola crisis now, to ISIS gaining strength," she continued, "I mean you look at all the combination of things like that.”
When NBC reporter Kasie Hunt again interjected with the same question, Hagan said the United States had "definitely been late to the table making decisions on" how to respond to the Ebola crisis.
Asked a third time, Hagan finally acquiesced.
“Certainly there are issues I think on … no," Hagan said.
The exchange was the latest in a series of incidents, where Democratic Senate candidates locked in tough election battles have been openly critical of the president, whose flagging approval ratings have hurt the party's chances to retain control of the upper chamber.
The White House brushed aside the criticism on Thursday, painting it as "a testament to her character and leadership and her commitment to serving the people of North Carolina."
"Sen. Hagan is somebody that has a track record and credentials for getting results for the people of North Carolina, even if it means criticizing members of her own party," press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The White House spokesman said he did not "necessarily agree with her assessment" and that Obama "takes all these responsibilities very seriously."
"I think if you look at the situation related to responding to Ebola, to putting in place measures that are driven by his administration to counter violent extremism, that there are a whole range of threats that the president takes very seriously, [he] has worked assiduously to protect the American people," Earnest said.