White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers is rarely at a loss for words, which makes Tuesday’s question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington downright astonishing.

Summers, whose term as president of Harvard University ended rather abruptly after he made some unfortunate remarks about women and math and science aptitude, knew he was on very thin ice when he was asked a question about gender differences in retirement savings.

As soon as the question was asked, laughter spread around the room. Summers himself paused for a good 20 seconds before cracking a joke about how the question must have frightened his staff.

“Now you have just put their health at risk,” he said. “I think I will move to the next question.”

UPDATE:

See the full clip below:


It’s worth watching!