No, really, Jay Carney would like to know. Even though he only showed his face in the briefing room twice this week, and even though the White House press corps used him as a punching bag, Barack Obama’s press secretary wants you to know he’s really enjoyed having to address this avalanche of scandals. Wait — did we say scandals? We mean, er, opportunities:
“I dismiss the premise, the idea that these are scandals,” Carney said flatly, calling the controversy over Benghazi a “total concoction by Republicans,” and the IRS scandal merely “inappropriate behavior” by the IRS.
Targeting the political opposition of the current administration is certainly “inappropriate behavior” by the IRS, but it’s also most likely criminal. Hearings begin today in that scandal, and the most recent IRS Commissioners will both have to explain to Congress why they deliberately misled the House when repeatedly denying that targeting activity was taking place at all. That’s the kind of “inappropriate behavior” that we call felonies.
The Hill has a little more on Carney’s denial:
“I would say that it’s been a challenging week, but in many ways a week that I’ve enjoyed,” Carney told CNN’s Piers Morgan. “Because I think that when a press secretary goes to a briefing room and there’s a lot of intensity in the room and a lot of news that is inspiring reporters to ask tough questions, you know, that’s what it’s all about.”
This week, two high-ranking IRS officials resigned amid a controversy in which the agency admitted to targeting conservative groups filing for tax-exempt status. Carney at times struggled through questions with reporters at a Tuesday press conference on the matter, and has faced criticism, including from former press secretary Robert Gibbs, over the administration’s “passive” response to the controversy.
In addition, the Department of Justice has been under fire for secretly seizing phone records belonging to the Associated Press during an investigation into a leak the White House says threatened national security. The administration has also continued to push back against Republican charges it wasn’t honest with the public about last year’s attack in Benghazi and that it didn’t do enough in the hours during the attack to protect U.S. personnel on the ground in Libya.
If Carney doesn’t believe these are scandals, maybe he should read the newspapers a little more. That seems to be how his boss figures things out.