White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has retreated from his statement that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "the elected leader" of the Islamic republic.
Gibbs had been asked on Tuesday whether the White House recognized Ahmadinejad as the country's legitimate president.
"He's the elected leader," Gibbs responded.
Talking to reporters Wednesday while en route to Indiana with US President Barack Obama, the spokesman said, "Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday. ... I would say that's not for me to pass judgment on."
Gibbs said that Ahmadinejad has been inaugurated, "that's a fact." He said it must be up to the Iranian people to decide whether the election "was fair."