David Remnick, whose New Yorker profile of President Obama first quoted the president comparing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to a "JV" team, confirmed to CNN that the president was indeed referring to ISIL when he made that comment.
Since ISIL has become more powerful and beheaded two American journalists, the Obama administration has tried to walk back the junior-varsity comparison and claim Obama was not referring "specifically" to ISIL.
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"Keep in mind I wasn’t specifically referring to [Islamic State]," Obama told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.
"I'm afraid this is spin; it's disingenuous," Remnick said on CNN's AC360.
At the time of the New Yorker interview, ISIL had recently seized Fallujah, as Remnick remembers: "It seemed to me, looking back on it, that yes, he was referring to the group that had taken over Fallujah. I specifically said Fallujah, and that's who it was, and he's fully informed."
"I think this denial is putting spin on the ball," Remnick said. "I thought this piece of language, and his communication in general on foreign policy in recent months has been rather, and surprisingly, lax and out of key."