President Obama’s spokesman described a top Senate Democrat (and Republicans who agree with him) as “willfully ignorant” after the lawmaker faulted the Obama administration for deciding to delay the implementation of Obamacare’s employer mandate, which was supposed to take effect next year.

“People who suggest that there is anything unusual about the delaying of a deadline in the implementation of a complicated law are either sticking their heads in the sand are just willfully ignorant about past precedent,”  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said towards the end of a conversation about the legal basis for delaying the employer mandate.

“This was the law,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Health Committee when Obamacare was passed, said to The New York Times. “How can they change the law?” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl cited that comment as the basis for his question.

Carney acted like Karl was trying to trick him by quoting Harkin. “You’re not talking about Tom Harkin you’re talking about the Republican effort to postpone a deadline,” he said.

To which Karl replied by noting that Harkin supports the law but opposes delaying the implementation of the law.

“Jon, you can pretend this is about Tom Harkin, but you know it’s not,” Carney countered, Karl’s protestations notwithstanding.