Top White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer fought back against the week of Republican lies on Meet the Press, telling David Gregory, “We’ve seen this playbook from the Republicans before. What they want to do when they are lacking a positive agenda is they want to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings, and false allegations. We’re not going to let that happen.”
He then proceeded to drop a few fact bombs on the alleged “scandals”.
Transcript from NBC News, with modifications and additions for missing text, my bold:
DAVID GREGORY: You don’t buy the theory there’s a big cloud, scandal over this president.
DAN PFEIFFER: No, I do not. We’ve seen this playbook from the Republicans before. What they want to do when they are lacking a positive agenda is they want to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings, and false allegations. We’re not going to let that happen. The president has business to do for the American people.
DAVID GREGORY: We’re going to hear from Dave Camp (R-MI, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee)… This is one of the things he said. I want to get your reaction.
DAVE CAMP: Listening to the nightly news, this appears to be an example of cover-ups and it seems like the truth is hidden from the American people just long enough to make it through an election.
DAVID GREGORY: How do you react to that?
DAN PFEIFFER: There’s no evidence to support at that. The first time the White House was aware of this investigation was a few weeks ago when our office was notified it was happening. At that point, we had no idea what the facts were. Congressman Issa has been aware of this investigation since before the election. He didn’t say anything publicly for very good reason. As he said, want to make sure you actually have facts before you raise allegations — when you’re talking about a nonpartisan entity like the IRS.
DAVID GREGORY: You’re a communications professional as well. You never want a president of the United States coming out and saying I just learned about this from news reports. It doesn’t look like someone is large and in charge–
DAN PFEIFFER: In this situation that’s exactly what you want. You don’t want the President involved in an independent investigation with an agency with an independent stature like the IRS. That would be inappropriate.
The Obama administration appointed a career official to review the IRS procedures, someone who has served under presidents of both parties, because that is exactly what you do when you do not have an agenda to cover something up. The President is staying out of the investigation, as he should.
The facts are that the IRS was not only “targeting” conservatives. In fact, conservatives were only 1/3 of the groups “targeted”. During another one of the Republicans’ wasteful congressional hearings, they got handed their hysteria on a platter of “don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to”, when they forced acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller to explain to them that conservatives were not targeted. Eric W. Dolan at Raw Story reported Saturday that Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) stepped in a big puddle of unbecoming fact:
“If the targeting wasn’t targeting, if the targeting wasn’t based on philosophy, how come only conservatives got snagged?” Roskam confidently asked.
“They didn’t, sir,” Miller responded. “Organizations of all walks and all persuasions were pulled in. That’s shown by the fact that only 70 of the 300 organizations were tea party organizations, of the ones that were looked at by TIGTA [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration].”
Furthermore, Republicans knew about the IRS investigation last year, because they requested it (caution: Jonathan Karl article). They also know why it didn’t “come out” then, and that is because no wrongdoing had been found yet. This is the nature of investigations, something Issa admitted then and now plays confused over. However, you can’t blame Republicans for their most defining characteristic of jumping the gun. They don’t care much for evidence, as proven in these trumped up charges (Benghazi gate, in which they were busted as manufacturing evidence against the Obama administration, should burnish the WMD rep once and for all).
The “scandal” that certain folks knew about the “IRS targeting conservatives”, suggesting yet another coverup, was planted in the press last week by Republican congressional aides, who failed to mention that Congressman Issa also knew about it.
These are the facts, and it’s a sad commentary on our media that the White House had to send out their own representative to point these things out. If they didn’t, the “trifecta” of trumped up scandals would be allowed to continue ala the Clinton years, costing untold amounts of money and halting government for years. But guess what? President Obama is not going to let that happen again.
Democrats have learned a few things from the Clinton years, but Republicans clearly have not. Speaker Boehner was already asked if he was worried about backlash last week. If they aren’t careful, the narrative by next week will resemble something closer to the truth: These scandals are trumped up by Republicans, who have once again lied to the press, Congress, and the public.
Meanwhile, the President’s approval ratings are going up.
Backlash is on the menu.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.