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White House admits fault in not attending Paris rally

World leaders from over 40 countries attended.

By Ed Adamczyk
White House admits fault in not attending Paris rally
Well-wishers march during a unit rally throughout some of Paris' main avenues, on 11 January 2015. More than 3 million people marched against extremist in the aftermath of attacks carried out by homegrown Muslim fanatics that left 17 people, including police, journalists and jewish hostages dead in separate but concerted incidents. Photo by Eco Clement/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The White House acknowledged Monday a high-ranking U.S. representative should have attended Sunday's unity rally in Paris.

"It is fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

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The rally was attended by over 3.7 million people as a response to the shootings by Islamists at a Paris magazine and related incidents, which killed 17 last week. The day's events involved the participation of over 40 world leaders representing their countries. Jane Hartley, U.S. ambassador to France, marched on behalf of the United States.

Earnest explained the presence of President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden could have provoked security concerns. "We're talking about a march that came together in about 36 hours, and a march that took place outdoors," Earnest said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in India over the weekend, referred to the controversy as "quibbling," adding he would visit Paris later in the week.

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"This is sort of quibbling a little bit, in the sense that our Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was there and marched, our ambassador was there and marched, many people from the embassy were there and marched."

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Writing in Time magazine Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said, "Many of our allies gathered together in Paris yesterday in an admirable display of determination. Our President should have been there, because we must never hesitate to stand with our allies. We should never hesitate to speak the truth. In Paris or anywhere else in the world."

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