Is there even a script anymore?
Presidential press secretary Jay Carney admitted Tuesday that there were “people” in the White House who knew conservative nonprofits were complaining that the Internal Revenue Service had been, to borrow the President’s phrase, “gumming up the works” as they attempted to achieve the same timely tax-exempt status their liberal-leaning peers enjoyed ahead of the 2012 Presidential election.
But, he said, nobody troubled themselves to do anything.
“I’m sure people were aware of, and knew, some of the stories that had been reported about the complaints, but we were not aware of any activity or of any review conducted by the inspector general until several weeks ago,” Carney said, responding to a question by Chuck Todd of MSNBC.
Todd wasn’t satisfied with an answer like that, so he pressed Carney further. That elicited this from the President’s mouthpiece:
Let’s just say that — well, first of all, for all the reasons why distance between — you know, why the IRS should not be politicized, you know — there has to be that distance.
But on the specific question that you had, I want to wait and see what the report says and wait and see what we actually know happened and what the facts are before we comment beyond what the president said yesterday on this matter, and before we make any decisions or pronouncements about what actions should be taken. I mean, you heard the president say what he believed and what he feels what is reported about specific targeting turned out to be true. But we need to see if that’s actually the case.
Tough-guy actor Claude Akins once hawked a product on TV by famously tossing aside his lines to go straight into testimonial mode, telling the director, “I don’t need this script.”
The same thing evidently happened a while back at the White House, somewhere between the 2012 campaign and the President’s crazy trip to Texas last week.
But the Obama Administration does need a script. Carney can’t take much more.