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George Will Compares IRS Scandal to Watergate, Iran Contra

by Keith Koffler on February 4, 2014, 10:22 am

George Will, hardly an intemperate man, compared the IRS scandal Monday to Watergate and Iran Contra.

Will, who appeared on Fox News Special Report, was discussing President Obama’s assertion Sunday that the scandal didn’t have a ‘Smidgeon” of corruption to it, thereby undermining an ongoing Justice Department investigation seeking to discover just such a smidgeon, or worse.

Will said:

We’ve had three major scandals in the last 40 years. Scandals are a dime a dozen in this town — sexual, financial, and all the rest — three big ones involving the distortion and abuse of institutions: Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the IRS.

The first two were ravenously covered by the media, they were Republican presidents’ problems. his is not being pursued and the president knows that hence his sense of weariness and boredom as he discussed this with Bill O’Reilly.

Let’s go to the videotape.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stonewalled Monday under tough questioning from ABC’s tough questioner, Jonathan Karl, about whether Obama was undermining the DOJ probe by declaring the result before it’s concluded.

Q    Jay, in the President’s interview with Bill O’Reilly last night, he said that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption,” regarding the IRS targeting conservative groups.  Did the President misspeak?

MR. CARNEY:  No, he didn’t.  But I can cite — I think have about 20 different news organizations that cite the variety of ways that that was established, including by the independent IG, who testified in May and, as his report said, that he found no evidence that anyone outside of the IRS had any involvement in the inappropriate targeting of conservative — or progressive, for that matter — groups in their applications for tax-exempt status.  So, again, I think that this is something –

Q    Jay, isn’t there an active Justice Department investigation into this matter?

MR. CARNEY:  I would refer you to the Justice Department, but I think that every look at this, every investigation into this, and everything we’ve learned about this is that this is not something that in any way reached outside of the IRS.  There’s been a concerted attempted –

Q    But, Jay, what the President said is there isn’t even a “smidgen of corruption.”  He didn’t give a qualifier outside the IRS –

MR. CARNEY:  Right.

Q    — and there’s an active Justice Department investigation — unless it has been concluded without anybody telling the news media, I mean, there’s an active Justice Department investigation.  Doesn’t the President prejudge that investigation when he tells Bill O’Reilly there’s not a smidgen of corruption –

MR. CARNEY:  — learned through the independent Inspector General and through the testimony that we’ve seen completely backs up what the President said.  And a lot of that has been well reported on by you and your colleagues and your news organizations over the course of the last several months.  Some people must have missed those reports.

Q    So the Justice Department should pull the plug –

MR. CARNEY:  That’s not -– obviously, we do not interfere with Justice Department investigations.

This is classic spin laden with a heap of unintended farce as Carney does everything he can to avoid addressing Obama’s clear interference in a DOJ probe.

First, Carney answers questions about a current IRS investigation by opining on the results of previous investigations.

And finally, using a line that could have come directly out of Catch-22 or Dr. Strangelove, he dodges the clear implication that Obama thinks there’s no use for the Justice probe by asserting, without apparent irony, “Obviously, we do not interfere with Justice Department investigations.”

Classic.

Leave a Comment

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Star February 4, 2014 at 10:30 am

I am tempted to shorten the already dismissive, silly word “smidgeon” to “smidge.”

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Lee February 4, 2014 at 10:58 am

Thanks for mention Smidgeon. Cute word. I feel he should work on his vocabulary.
Wee Bit would have sounded a lot better. sarc

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:04 am

Tad–always liked that one, too.

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Lee February 4, 2014 at 11:59 am

Smile

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anneinarkansas February 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

I love George Will’s description of Obama speeches as “cotton candy.”

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srdem65 February 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

Full of air, irritatingly messy, and not good for you. ?

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:02 am

Sticky and sweet, too…. On the other part of the interview (taped), O’Reilly (see–taking a bullet for you O’R haters), Bill said he was more of a go-it-aloner and the president was more of a nanny stater. Obama said no, it was just that what used to be consider sensible was now labeled as liberal. He also said something about Nixon being a transformer like him–something about that–I was glazing. He did say he was more like Nixon. I need a nap.

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

For those of you who insist this was scripted–do you really think his handlers would have told him, hey, say you are like Nixon.

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srdem65 February 4, 2014 at 11:25 am

Yes, I do believe that advised him to mention Nixon.
Why, to remind the Repubs that they had a President bedeviled by the MSM and they didn’t like it.
He’s saying in all of his answers; other guys did stuff like this before me and look how well it turned out.

Personally, I think he’s getting ready to leave the WhiteHouse. Just a thought.

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

I dunno on the Nixon thing–that would be pretty subtle–and these people flunked subtle. What was sensible is now called liberal? Wouldn’t he want it the other way around? What WAS liberal is now called sensible?

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Lee February 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Are you serious? I would like to know your thoughts on that. That would be to easy for the American Citizens. Now on the other hand, if he was able to buy huge property on one of the Islands. You never know.

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Girly1 February 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Your instincts are usually spot-on, srdem. Do you sense that the walls are closing in on Obama? That he will resign to ‘spend more time with the family’?
From your keyboard to God’s ears!
Frankly, I never felt that he wanted a second term – he knows he is in over his head. IMO, MOOshelle and Valjar took him to the woodshed and told him to ‘soldier on’.
In fact, my belief all along has been that Barack Obama, the myth, was created and marketed by these two women – exclusively.
I used to watch MOOshelle watching Obama on the campaign trai when he was speechifying. The look of intensity on her face at all times as she sat on the edge of her seat was revealing.
She was his mentor and coach. She never relaxed until he finished his performance.,
And now that he is in trouble, it is Valjar who accompanies him EVERYWHERE!
The two women are worried!

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AFVet February 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

He’ll stick around until after the 2014 elections.
If they favor the conservatives he is up against it and he knows it.

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Girly1 February 4, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Agree about the mid-terms. He must wait it out to see if his 6 years of constant, non-stop battering/demonizing of Bush, Congress and TP has paid off.

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Girly1 February 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Definitely – yes. Obama can’t think on his feet. I think O’Reilly sent a laundry list of possible questions…and Obama’s aides poured over every single question – and they rehearsed Obama for days prioir to the SB.

Do you really believe Obama would walk the high wire without a net on SB Sunday in front of 100M viewers?

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Star February 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Again, you THINK he got questions–where is the evidence?

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Girly1 February 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I thought this was an ‘opinion’ forum.

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srdem65 February 4, 2014 at 10:50 am

After watching the rest of the Obama/O’Reilly interview, it seems appparent that nothing was sponteneous and every move, every question/answer was rehearsed.
MrObama expected these touchy questions and must have believed that it was his one big chance to sweep away all those pesky scandals and restore his good standing to the voters. “smidgeon” was probably tested and determined to cover everything so as to put to rest any implication that the WhiteHouse was involved.

The whole context of the IRS’s actions also involved the hundred or so visits that the Director of the IRS made to the WhiteHouse. MrO’s descriptions of those visits was convoluted and vague, and it seems he met with the IRS guy, but doesn’t remember why.

The current investigation of the IRS is a farce, another whitewash to protect everyone involved. MrO shouldn’t have been so transparent with his comments, and probably wishes he hadn’t said anything other than the …no comment, there’s an investigation underway.

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Lee February 4, 2014 at 11:03 am

That is why I did not watch it. If it would have been a live discussion, I would have been glued to the screen. He would have said a little more than he planned, answering one or more questions.

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:08 am

The first 10 mins were live. I do not believe the questions were submitted. Bill is a commentator now but was a reporter–we don’t submit questions. I do think they knew what they would be–or more or less–nd were prepared. We used to conduct “murder boards” rehearse all answers to expected questions. You can see the whole unedited thing–live and taped–on the website.

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Julie Brueckheimer February 4, 2014 at 11:13 am

It turns out that this Super Bowl was the most watched television event in history–over 111 million people–so if people tuned in early, Obama had a much wider audience than from his SOTU. You’re darn right he was given the questions early, and it was a kabuki dance between the two men. He’d never agree otherwise.

Hillary also capitalized with some joke tweet about the Super Bowl being the one day someone else was going to be beaten up on FOX more than her. Seemed orchestrated to go along with Obama’s attack on FOX.

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

Well, you didn’t watch–so now that you have asserted he had the actual questions–could you provide proof?

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Julie Brueckheimer February 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

Oh noes, Star, you mean to tell me that Obama went on national television and spoke off the cuff? And this is the last time I will ever reply to a comment of yours.

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Star February 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I think he rehearsed answers to all possible questions–but the answers were bad. Is that your proof–the answers were so good? I know–you won’t answer me. It’s OK.

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Girly1 February 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Star, excuse me for interrupting here…but, as I commented above, this is an opinion forum…not a courtroom. Let’s move on…

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gracepmc February 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Over at the Daily Caller I read about the WH sending “suggested” pro Obamacare tweets to the NFL Union for the players to send out.

And loosely — very — along the lines of state run media or simply Americans saying what the government tells them to say –I found it slightly ironic that Jay cites about “20 different news organizations” agree that there is not a “smidgeon” of evidence about IRS corruption.

Isn’t there a song out there somewhere about “one voice…one heart” — also “one voice — one vision”.

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Susan February 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I agree. I didn’t watch the interview, but got the gist of it from the multitude of clips linked on conservative blogs and played by radio hosts. Preezy doesn’t do anything off the cuff, so wouldn’t doubt he had an outline of questions O’Reilly would ask. Of course without his teleprompter he can only remember so many talking points so he may have blurted out a few words that weren’t focus-grouped before hand.

O’Reilly still didn’t ask the questions that I and many others still want to know. Where was the commander-in-chief on the evening of 9/11/12, and what were the orders he gave to his military commanders in response to the attack on the Benghazi embassy?

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gracepmc February 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

J — If Hillary gets elected we get the 3fer — Shrillary, BillyJeff, and the naked Emperor.

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Susan February 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

Those are false comparisons in my opinion. Watergate and Iran Contra didn’t personally affect US citizens. The IRS targeting of conservatives is a direct attack on the American people.

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srdem65 February 4, 2014 at 10:55 am

Good point. Allow me to add ….and our political system.

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Julie Brueckheimer February 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

Spot on, Susan.

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Lee February 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

Correct. Everyone back than did not have a long list of intrusion.
I have mentioned before how I felt sorry for his family and what they went though. More so now that they see how many wrong things are getting brushed aside. Major Things!!!
I am waiting for what the new line wil be:I Am Not A Crook!!! has already been used.

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Star February 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

I am sure if they find a smidgeon of corruption–heh–the defn of corruption will be our next project. Obviously people thought it was OK to hassle right wing groups. Why did they think that? Was it an outright directive? A gut feeling it would be met with approval from on high?

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Susan February 4, 2014 at 11:45 am

Preezy has already used the line: “I am not um uh uh a dictator…”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/03/01/obama_i_am_not_a_dictator_im_the_president.html

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Lee February 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Your right. I hope someday Nixon will have Company in the History Book.

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gracepmc February 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Exactly. Thanks Susan.

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Girly1 February 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm

It’s time to ‘investigate’ the investigators!
The FBI did not interview ONE of the 41 targeted clients of the Am. Center for Law and Justice. Or other clients of Tea Party lawyers .
Obama/Fox appoint a civil rights lawyer and huge campaign donor to lead a sham invesitigation.
Of course Obama can sit there and say there is not a ‘smidgeon’ of corruption, Case closed.

The IRS is Obama’s personal assassination squad. Just ask Sarah Palin’s father and the legions of other targets.

Special Prosecutors were appointed in the cases of both Nixon and Clinton – why is it not happening with Obama?
If Boehner & Co is guilty of obstruction of justice by refusing to start the ball rolling, start a recall or whatever to remove him from office.
Something has to be done before Obama begins Part Two of his reign of terror – Executive Orders!

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lizzytalorburton February 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Obama gave nothing, sounded very dumb also. I mean, can you believe a President of the United States blaming Fox News? He is the biggest liar in the world, so juvenile are his lies.

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rulierose February 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

“Obviously, we do not interfere with Justice Department investigations, especially the ones without merit, like this one, which is clearly politically motivated by Fox and other enemies of the president.”

there–fixed Carney’s statement for him.

I thought O’Reilly did ok, considering. I mean, what did you guys expect him to do–be actively rude to the president in front of the entire country? sure, I might have liked him to keep pushing on some things (Benghazi, IRS) but he got about as much as Obama was going to give.

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Paul February 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm