- Obama admin to blame for HealthCare.gov woes, $840M cost: GAO
- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
Scandals drown out Obama’s message on economy
Question of the Day
Remember what President Obama said about the economy Thursday on his ballyhooed trip to Austin, Texas?
Don’t worry. Hardly anybody else remembers, either.
In hindsight, the most remarkable aspect of Mr. Obama’s “middle-class jobs and opportunity tour” is that he began it 24 hours before what was arguably the worst day of his second term. On Friday, the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service became public and more revelations surfaced about the administration’s efforts to downplay the role of terrorism in the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Whatever attention the media had been paying to Mr. Obama’s economic plans suddenly evaporated. With another controversy erupting this week about the Justice Department’s wide-ranging probe of news media, the president isn’t likely to regain control of his message when he travels to Baltimore on Friday for the second installment of his jobs tour.
“There’s absolutely no way they’re going to get out a positive message this week, or maybe next week, on what they’re doing to move their agenda,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. “There’s no clear sky, only a stormy weather pattern, that surrounds this White House.”
Even some Democrats are openly questioning whether the president’s new leadership team is capable of managing the administration’s message discipline during the rapid succession of scandals. Lanny Davis, who was a counselor to President Clinton, has said Mr. Obama’s “crisis-management communications team is absent without leave.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that Mr. Obama accepts responsibility for the series of controversies, although the president and others in his administration have blamed congressional Republicans for a partisan probe into Benghazi and have said they were unaware of the Justice and IRS actions until recently.
After reading a watchdog report on the IRS scandal, Mr. Obama said he has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to “hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the inspector general’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again.”
Still, there is little doubt that the events of the past week have put the administration in a defensive posture. In one exchange with reporters Tuesday, Mr. Carney’s blanket defense of the White House in the IRS controversy melted in a matter of minutes.
Asked by a reporter whether he could state “categorically” that nobody at the White House or on the president’s political team knew or was involved in the IRS targeting of tea party groups, Mr. Carney said “yes” firmly. But about 20 minutes later, another reporter asked how Mr. Carney could be “unequivocal” about no White House involvement while he was arguing that the White House didn’t have all the facts about the case.
Mr. Carney replied that he had “no reason to believe” anyone on the president’s team was involved with the IRS matter. Asked whether he was basing his belief on “good faith,” Mr. Carney then said, “I am not aware of anyone here knowing about it.”
“I think I can say that I feel confident in that,” he said.
Political strategists say it will be difficult for the president to pull himself out of this predicament and regain control of the message promoting his second-term agenda.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
- Hillary Clinton: I was indeed 'dead broke,' but shouldn't have said so
- YALI2014: Obama to meet young African leaders amid economic push
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- MSNBC's Ronan Farrow questions lack of racial diversity in emoji characters
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama vows veto of House border bill
- ISTOOK: Get ready for super-priced burgers due to NLRB decree
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world