In his push for more diplomacy, President Obama has highlighted the role of the United Nations in helping preserve peace around the globe.
So the White House didn't take too kindly to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon describing the United States as a "deadbeat" because it is habitually late paying its dues.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ban's choice of words in a private meeting with members of Congress on Wednesday -- a day after meeting Obama for the first time -- was "unfortunate."
"I think given the contribution that the American taxpayer makes, I do think it would be appropriate to acknowledge that role," Gibbs told reporters at his daily briefing, noting that the United States is the biggest funder of the UN, ponying up more than one-fifth of its nearly $5 billion annual operating budget.
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