|>>|| No. 81999
>Do you really think they'd have let him away with a non-apology though?
Yes. The "I'm sorry for any offence caused" gambit consistently works. It doesn't have to be believable to the people who are demanding an apology, it just needs to look like enough of an apology to everyone else. It turns a clear cut "we demand an apology" into the far weaker "we demand a real apology". If your opponents don't give up after you give a non-apology, it's easy to make yourself look magnanimous and make them look like spoiled brats. You just keep repeating your non-apology, making contrite noises without actually accepting any degree of responsibility or wrongdoing.
It shouldn't work, but it does. So do "mistakes were made", "we have no plans to do x", answering the question you wish you'd been asked, repeating a soundbite ad nauseum, and all the other staples of the spin-doctor's playbook. The media are too capricious, lazy and easily distracted to cut through that sort of bullshit.