A top White House adviser said Friday that "it would be foolish" to ignore the possibility House Republicans may pursue impeachment of President Obama.
Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said House Speaker John A. Boehner's lawsuit against the president — based on Republican allegations Mr. Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority — should be seen as evidence the GOP may raise the notion of impeachment.
Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, among others, has said the president should be impeached. A CNN/ORC International poll released Friday found that 35 percent of Americans agree, including 57 percent of Republicans.
Those numbers, and the words of Ms. Palin and the actions of Mr. Boehner, have convinced the White House that an impeachment fight may be looming, according to Mr. Pfeiffer.
"When you have Sarah Palin out there talking about impeachment … I think a lot of people in this town laugh that off. I would not discount that possibility," he said. "I think Speaker Boehner going down the path of this lawsuit has opened the door."
Mr. Pfeiffer denied that, from a political perspective, impeachment by the Republican-controlled House would be good for the president.
But it's clear the administration and the Democratic party as a whole wants to take advantage of the Republican lawsuit against Mr. Obama. Democratic party organizations, for example, have made the lawsuit a central part of their fundraising pitches in recent weeks.
Both the president and advisers such as Mr. Pfeiffer also have not shied away from discussing the lawsuit.
Still, Mr. Pfeiffer made clear he thinks any impeachment effort would fail.
"No one has even made any allegations of anything that would be six universes from what's generally considered in that space," he said. "But I think it would be foolish to discount the possibility."
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