President Obama’s top spokesman on Tuesday defended the civil rights record of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE, who have come under fire for making a racially tinged joke at an event last week.
“Mayor de Blasio and Secretary Clinton have, over the course of their careers, demonstrated a genuine commitment to the pursuit of equality and justice and civil rights,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest said he had not heard the joke himself.
The incident occurred during a skit de Blasio performed with Clinton and “Hamilton” actor Leslie Odom Jr. during a dinner with reporters and politicians in New York over the weekend.
Clinton bemoaned how long it took for de Blasio to endorse her presidential campaign.
"I just have to say, thanks for the endorsement, Bill. It took you long enough,” Clinton said.
"Sorry Hillary, I was running on C.P. time," de Blasio said, using a term that commonly refers to “colored people time,” a quip at the stereotype that black people often run late.
Odom, seemingly in on the skit, responded: "I don't like jokes like that, Bill."
"Cautious politician time," Clinton chimed in. "I've been there."
De Blasio defended the skit during a CNN interview on Tuesday, saying many are "missing the point."
"It was clearly a staged show. It was a scripted show and the whole idea was to do the counter-intuitive and say 'cautious politician time,’” he said.