Rubio: Obama “doesn’t have clean hands” in IRS scandal

posted at 12:41 pm on May 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

But – but – but – he fired a guy who was leaving next month anyway! Shouldn’t that count for something? Apparently not with Marco Rubio, who offered a few dot connections on Fox News this morning between the IRS and AP scandals — and hinted that more may be coming in the former:

“The president doesn’t have clean hands in this,” Marco Rubio said this morning of the IRS scandal. ”This organization of his, this administration has created a culture of intimidation.”

The Florida senator pointed to the tone president has set throughout his administration as the root of the IRS scandal. “It’s his campaign, it’s his White House, it’s basically an attempt to muscle anyone who is their political opponent, and to use whatever power they have at their disposal to intimidate people who they don’t agree with,” he explained.

Rubio’s right that one of the linking themes between the two scandals is intimidation.  In the IRS case, it’s explicit; in the AP scandal, it’s a little more subtle, mainly because the AP didn’t even realize that the Obama administration had raided its phone records for a while after it happened.  However, the consequence of that seizure and especially its ridiculously broad scope was to tell potential sources on government misconduct that a reporter’s pledge for anonymity essentially means squat.

Rubio also told Chuck Todd on MSNBC that one resignation won’t be enough, and again connected the dots to Obama’s culture of intimidation:

First of all, I think the resignation is appropriate. I called for that on Monday, but it is just the beginning. It’s not nearly enough. I think there should be prosecutions of individuals that were responsible here in abusing their power. I also think it’s important for the president to be honest about the culture of intimidation that his administration has created here. This is a president that as late as last Monday was in New York City basically saying that he knows there are Republicans that are willing to work with him but they’re afraid of their base, or they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh. Always describing ulterior motives to his opponents, always questioning whether there’s an honest disagreement or not. There’s no honest policy disagreement with this administration, and as a result it has created this culture of intimidation that’s pervasive throughout the White House and the federal government. And I think all of this is a product of that, I really do.

Todd asked Rubio how this might impact immigration reform.  Rubio said: “One of the impediments … is a lack of trust in the federal government.” Indeed.


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