One of the repeating themes I kept hearing on the news for the past few days was how the White House was going to be really glad when this week was over because things really hadn’t been going very well. I assume Sunday is still part of the same week, because not only didn’t things get any better this morning, they seem to have taken a notable turn for the worse. We touched on this briefly earlier today, but the Obama administration dispatched Dan Pfeiffer to make the rounds of the Sunday shows and “clarify” what’s been going on with the current scandals. This may have turned out to be the worst decision they’ve made since Susan Rice.
First off, what was Pfeiffer’s explanation of the IRS situation?
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer on Sunday defended the White House handling of the Internal Revenue Service scandal, saying the legality of the political targeting was “irrelevant” and vowing the administration would ensure it “never happens again.”
“I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant,” said Pfeiffer on ABC’s “This Week.” “The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed so we ensure it never happens again.”
I see. So the law “is irrelevant” in this situation. Fair enough, Dan. Let’s move on to Benghazi. How do things stand there?
Host Chris Wallace reminds Pfeiffer that Obama didn’t really talk with Secretary Clinton, Secretary Panetta, or Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that night. “He was talking to his national security staff,” Pfeiffer insists.
Asked about whether the president entered the Situation Room, Pfeiffer says, “I don’t remember what room the president was in on that night, and that’s a largely irrelevant fact.”
Alrighty, then! At this rate we should have all of these scandals cleared up in no time. But there may be a few more nettles in this particular patch of weeds. Pfeiffer also reiterated that the administration didn’t know and couldn’t have known anything about an internal IRS investigation of the targeting of conservative groups until a week or so ago. How could they? (And even if they had, I’m sure it would have been largely irrelevant anyway.) Unfortunately, you know your storyline is getting into trouble when CBS is questioning it.
Evidence emerges that Obama administration official knew of IRS targeting during 2012 campaign
There were new questions Saturday night concerning if anyone in the White House was aware of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.
Inspector General Russell George said he informed a deputy at the Treasury Department in June of 2012 about the probe into the IRS.
The Treasury Department confirmed the timeline but said they did not know the details of the investigation until last week.
It’s the first evidence that someone within the Obama administration knew about the practice during the presidential campaign.
Nothing seemed to be going well for Dan all morning. In fact, on Face the Nation, while Bob Schieffer was trying to get him to defend some of the more incredible responses Pfeiffer had given, Bob asked him, “and why am I talking to you? Why am I not talking to the Chief of Staff about this?” Ouch.
Even worse, when Dan was done, Bob spoke to Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He had apparently heard enough, and used “the C word.” (No, not that one… “cover-up”)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz says the White House should release more documents relating to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The Utah Republican said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that more information is needed and that a cover-up is ongoing.
“People deserve the truth and the families deserve the truth,” Chaffetz said. “I can’t imagine that this administration would say those same things about what happened in Boston where we had four people killed by a terrorist.”
This whole morning was a tour of duty which nobody with an ounce of kindness in their hearts would wish on Pfeiffer, and it’s tough to imagine who dreamed this up at the White House. Rather than fixing things, they have publicly robbed Pfeiffer – a long time Obama soldier – of any credibility he may have had to speak on the subject. And rather than tamping down the scandal situation, they’ve only fanned with flames with another week’s worth of questions and denials to come. So get out your popcorn and stay tuned. It should be another long week.