White House: Well, the conduct "of a small number of IRS employees may have fallen short..."

No need to be quite so modest here, White House — as to the most ‘recent media reports,’ we already learned this weekend that high-up agency leaders knew this tea-party targeting had been going on was going on for at least a couple of years now and certainly didn’t bother to stop it, and the fact that this was all performed by a relatively small number of employees in the workforce-hugeness of the IRS is really not a mitigating factor. Via ABC:

In a statement this morning White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the president is “concerned” the conduct of a few employees of the IRS has “fallen short” of the integrity expected of government officials. “The President believes that the American people expect and deserve to have the very best public servants with the highest levels of integrity working in government agencies on their behalf.  Based on recent media reports, he is concerned that the conduct of a small number of Internal Revenue Service employees may have fallen short of that standard.  We understand that the matter is currently under review by the Inspector General.  If the Inspector General finds that there were any rules broken or that conduct of government officials did not meet the standards required of them, the President expects that swift and appropriate steps will be taken to address any misconduct,” Carney said in the statement.

President Obama also glossed over the issue during his press conference with British PM David Cameron just before noon, obligatorily agreeing that it’s “outrageous,” that the “IRS as an independent agency has to act with absolute integrity” and that “I’ve got no patience for it and I will not tolerate it,” but ultimately demurring: “The IG is conducting their investigation and I’m not going to comment prematurely.” …Hmm, waiting for the IG report to comment? As fond as President Obama is of that politically safe route (where have we heard that before recently?), the IRS had been caught red-handed in official wrongdoing here, and it doesn’t look like the forthcoming IG report is going to be helping their case by any stretch of the imagination.

On MSNBC this morning, Tom Brokaw asserted that the time for action from the president is already nigh — and as Chuck Todd added, “Why aren’t there more Democrats jumping on this? This is outrageous no matter what political party you are.” Via Mediaite: