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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

President Obama said Thursday that he did not know that agents in the IRS had been targeting Tea Party groups until the Inspector General’s report leaked last week.

Speaking at a press conference with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House Rose Garden, the president said that he first heard of the IRS misconduct through reports in the media.

“I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the report before the I.G. report had been leaked,” Obama said.

The president again said that any targeting of groups for their political leanings was “outrageous and unacceptable.” He vowed to fix the situation so that the agency would act “without even a hint of bias.”

He added that he did not believe a special counsel was needed to investigate the issue. “My main concern is fixing a problem and we began that process yesterday by asking [for] and accepting the resignation of the acting director there,” the president said.

Both leaders renewed calls for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down but the “scandals” swirling around Washington occupied much of the president’s attention, with Obama going on the offensive from his opening statement, calling on Congress to fully fund embassy security, a nod to the continuing investigation into the September 11 attacks on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

Republicans have significantly cut funds for State Department security since taking over the House in 2010.

“We need to come together and truly honor the sacrifice of those four courageous Americans and better secure our diplomatic posts around the world,” Obama said. “That’s how we learn the lessons of Benghazi. That’s how we keep faith with the men and women who we send overseas to represent America.”

The president also refused to apologize for the activities of the Justice Department, which is receiving scrutiny for subpoenaing records of reporters from the Associated Press as part of an investigation into the publication of classified information.

“Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,” he said.

After defending calls for a media shield law, the president interrupted a question to the Turkish prime minister to affirm his “complete confidence” in Attorney General Eric Holder, who recused himself in the AP investigation because he had testified in the case.

Photo: Charles Dharapak

  • ObozoMustGo

    Obozo on the offense? Bwwwaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… ROFLMAO!!!!

    He’s hit the Hat Trick of scandals in the past week and that’s all he can talk about. Every day. Even in press conferences with foreign dignitaries. Obozo has been taking the Schultz defense for over a week now: “I see nothing… I hear nothing…. I know nothing”

    Sattler, you crack me up!

    Have a nice day!

    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ― George Orwell

  • ObozoMustGo

    Here’s another good one depicting Obozo… errr….. Oblame-O on defense…

    Have a nice day!

    “Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,” – David Axelrod announcing his agreement with the Tea Party that the government is too big to be managed by an incompetent like Obozo, May 15, 2013

    • DukeDacat

      ObozoGo screw yourself, you ignorant TROLL

  • Ray Capp

    It is only obvious that he knew about the IRS scandal and thinks fancy talk skirting around the questions is his answere. Isn’t it ironic how all of his answeres were I this and I that like a true dictator. It is called forensic profiling and anyone who knows it can see right thru him and his actions.

    • What makes you think that a president – any president – is aware of what over a million civil servants are doing? Why is that obvious to you? There are things that, because of their magnitude, suggest a president or someone in the upper echelon must have known. Iran-Contra comes to mind. But suggesting that it is obvious that a president had to know what some low level civil servant was doing is ludricous.
      As for Barack Obama being a dictator, I could not help smiling. I lived under two dictators and let me tell you, Barack Obama is anything but a dictator. The same goes for all previous U.S. presidents, including Nixon.

    • RobertCHastings

      And, as of this moment in time, what is it that makes you certain that President Obama Kenw about the IRS scandal prior to just a few days ago? Your “forensic profiling” experience is probably the result of listening to glen beck or rush limbaugh or ann coulter. Your nonsense about profiling does not hold water. Apparently you believe EVERY president who has occupied the White House is a dictator, if your sole criteria is “I this and I that”.

  • exdemo55

    The Obama administration finds itself in perilous political waters amid three unfolding scandals.

    First came last week’s congressional testimony by three highly credible officials, plus some excellent reporting, which showed that the Obama administration consciously misled Americans after the Benghazi attacks that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The White House and State Department knew the attacks were the work of terrorists, not the spontaneous reaction of viewers to an anti-Muslim video on YouTube, as they insisted for two weeks.

    If the author of the fanciful yarn that a video provoked the attacks works in the West Wing or on the State Department’s fifth floor, powerful heads should roll. Already, officials in both buildings are quietly suggesting someone in the other building is at fault.

    Then, on Friday, IRS official Lois Lerner revealed that the IRS had been investigating the president’s political opponents. Congressional hearings will soon follow. As Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has said, “we’ve only started to scratch the surface of this scandal.”

    The abuse of power may not be confined to the IRS. It might also involve high-ranking Senate Democrats who pressured the IRS to conduct such witch hunts and threatened action if it didn’t.

    In September 2010, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, requesting that the agency survey major nonprofits involved in political campaign activity for their possible “violation of tax laws.” In February 2012, Sens. Charles Schumer, Michael Bennet, Al Franken, Jeff Merkley, Jeanne Shaheen, Tom Udall and Sheldon Whitehouse wrote a similar letter to Mr. Shulman, and promised to introduce legislation if the IRS failed to “prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups.” In July 2012 and again in August, Sen. Carl Levin complained to the IRS about its apparent passivity.

    Finally, earlier this week the Justice Department admitted it secretly obtained phone records for dozens of Associated Press editors and reporters in order to investigate a leak investigation. Most voters may not be angered by this assault on the First Amendment, but it has turned the press corps on its White House handlers. As National Journal’s Ron Fournier said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show on Tuesday, “We were lied to on Benghazi, on the talking points behind Benghazi for months, we were lied to by the IRS for months and now they’re sending a clear message to our sources—don’t embarrass the administration or we’re coming after you.”

    The controversies are likely to demoralize Democrats who already are depressed by the collapse of Mr. Obama’s gun control package, the failure of his political manipulation of the budget sequester, and the quick death of his budget.

    The controversies will also further stir up Republicans for the 2014 midterms, adding to their anger about spending, debt and ObamaCare. Even before these firestorms, Republicans were getting keyed up. There was the unexpected opportunity for a Senate pickup when Mr. Baucus announced his retirement last month. And top Democratic choices announced they wouldn’t run for open Senate seats in Georgia and South Dakota.

    These three big controversies might also sap Mr. Obama’s remaining strength. Swing voters who re-elected him in 2012 after punishing his party in 2010 clearly like the man. But evasive White House answers on Benghazi, the IRS’s thuggish behavior, and the media’s willingness to more aggressively challenge the White House could all undermine Mr. Obama’s likability among this group.

    How does the president get his sea legs back? The best option would be to get the truth out fully and swiftly and then hold people accountable and punish wrongdoing. Mr. Obama has called for doing so with the IRS.

    But generally the president’s instincts will more likely lead him in the months ahead to circle the wagons and become more prickly and self-pitying. On Monday, for example, Mr. Obama lamented at a New York fundraiser that his “thinking was that after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever” among Republicans and end “hyper-partisanship” in Washington. That hasn’t happened so Mr. Obama again blamed—seemingly for the hundredth time—Rush Limbaugh for the president’s failure to achieve nirvana.

    Is Mr. Obama up to overcoming the most serious scandals of his presidency? Count me skeptical. These controversies will stretch on and probably be joined by fights over the debt ceiling, the budget and ObamaCare’s implementation.

    • Well, I think we all agree that the attack against our consulate in Benghazi was not carried out by disciples of Mother Teresa. Whether or not they reacted to the inflammatory film they elicited protests throughout the Islamic world, or was a planned attack in retaliation for the ousting and killing of Moammar Qaddafi or someone else is still speculation. The perpetrators of the attack remain at large, and everything that has been provide to date is the opinion of people. Not making a conclusive statement regarding motive does not mean anyone lied. It means we didn’t know – and do not yet know – why they did. Most importantly, we have nokt yet identified and found those responsible for the attack.

      • All small potatoes that the Republicans are trying to amplify….make something from nothing! ALL PRESIDENTS investigate opponents! Good grief! I am personally happy he had the IRS investigate the Tea Party! The only thing of value that the IRS has done in decades! And Bengazi, a miscalculation in terms of the real threat to our diplomats there, but I am thinking that the President went on info provided by his sources. Not an impeachable offense by any means.
        Now, if Congress would only STOP the nonsense that started with birthers and has continued for 4 years +, maybe some valueable work could get done! DUMBASSES!!

        • itsfun

          Dumbasses; small potatoes What about the first amendment violations by his “justice department”. What about the IRS? What about fast and furious? How many scandals do you need to realize how corrupt this administration is?

          • roguerunners

            NEXT!

          • Independent1

            Just keep on whistling in the dark itsfun – you’re so clueless you wouldn’t know the answer to any of those things even if someone spoon fed you the information!!!

    • sigrid28

      If Republicans want inside information, they should win presidential elections rather than trying to steal them. Not all that is known within the DOJ or the CIA or the FBI can–or should–be public knowledge, so it is no mystery when it takes time for the facts of a case to come to light. Republicans are acting like impatient brats when it comes to the IRS researching social welfare groups that the GOP itself asked the IRS to investigate; when the DOJ investigates the outing of our own counter terror operatives (which the GOP demanded); and when the truth about Benghazi cannot immediately become clear principally because of the fog of war.

      What you call “serious scandals” are just trumped up, willful misinterpretations and outright lies promulgated by the right in an effort to sully the first black man in the White House. Smooth talk like yours, stringing together Republican talking points, cannot hide the racial animus behind it.

      People like you call competent even mature administration of the presidency is “circling the wagons”–terms you and your childish colleagues like to trot out–when President Obama is simply carrying out his constitutional duties obligations with full discretion and deliberate respect for the truth.

      And about the IRS that you Republicans now lionize, springing to its defense–remember that it was your candidate, Mitt Romney, who refused to release more than two years of his tax returns. If the IRS is so flawless in its operation, why not release those documents? He was not audited after all.

  • What Republicans must understand is that our consulate in Benghazi is one of many diplomatic missions that need to beef up security to defend themselves from potential terrorist attacks. Every single embassy and consulate throughout the Islamic world, and in other parts of the world, is vulnerable to an attack. Tens of millions of dollars will have to be restored to provide the manpower we need to improve their security capabilities. Moreover, we must impress on the host countries that considering the record of attacks against U.S. diplomatic facilities during the past few decades, and considering the fact that the host countries have not provided the expected security support, we have no choice but to increase security. Obviously, turning our embassies and consulates into bunkers confirms the belief held by people worldwide that the purported leader of the free world is actually hated worldwide. This is far from being unprecedented, every dominant nation has been the target of local ire, and we are not an exception to that rule.
    What is unusual, is to have “leaders” who advertise our fears, confirm the presence of security personnel in our diplomatic missions, and call for increases in CIA agents and other security personnel. I bet our former and present foes are enjoying the spectacle.

    • DurdyDawg

      That’s because the old ploy, “Anybody but Obama” is still in effect and flourishing in backwood hillbilly red states led by tiny minded political criminals who puts every single American in poverty in an effort to get vengeance on one man.. It’s always chapped the Pubs for not being able to rid their embarrassment over watergate until they can create a similar embarrassment for the Dems.. They tried it with Clinton and failed which pissed them off even more, now it’s Obama’s shot then it will be any Dem that follows until they reach their directive, a balance in corruption. To hell with the contra.. piss on the 3000+ lives and credit card wars, those were the past this is the present.. hell we’ve even erected libraries for these past crooks.. It’s the four were most raged about (typical neocon hatefulness)..

      • One of the things that is driving them cracy is the contrast between the incidence of terrorist attacks when W was in office and the small number of terrorist attacks since President Obama was inaugurated. Add to that his popularity abroad, the honors he has received from foreign dignataries, and the fact that W had to cancel trips abroad for fear of being arrested on charged of crimes against humanity and it is not too difficult to figure out why the GOP is so intent on creating an illusion of chaos where none exists. Unfortunately, smoke and mirrors are often successful among the gullible and party zealots.

        • How about Obama dismantling Guantanamo now(soon it will be too late). Ending this despicable practice of droning. Dealing with the Wall Streeters who conned American and the world but putting then in jail. Investigating the truth behind 9/11 and the Boston Bombing. He has little more than 2 1/2 years now to prove that he really did care. Or was just being the president all he cared about?

          • He Signed The Paper To Close Gustmo When He First Took Office!! You Can Thank Your GOP/Tea Party American Taliban For It Not Being Closed!!! Where The Hell Have You Been??? No Doubt Walking Thru Life Sleep!!!!! You Need To Wake The Hell Up!!!!

    • labrown69

      Our “consulate in Benghazi” was a CIA outpost as probably are most of our consulates.

      • Only the most naive are unaware of the presence of CIA agents in most of our embassies and consulates. Likewise, there are foreign intelligence agents stationed in many foreign diplomatic missions in the USA. They keep an eye on ours and we keep an eye on theirs. The recent arrest and deportation of an American intelligence agent with written instructions and a large amount of money intended for a contact is a case in point. Obviously, Benghazi was not an exception to the rule. Interestingly, I have not heard much about our Consul in that city…

        • labrown69

          Dominick – “only the most naive” describes most of the American electorate. This is like the old Adlai Stevenson line in which after he had made a rousing stump speech one of his aids said “surely after that speech, every thinking American will vote for you” and Stevenson replied, “yea but I need a majority”.

          • silas1898

            True as ever, even after 60 years.

    • tobewan

      Additionally then, IMO, according to findings, we may judge that the
      Republican’s scheme (those that so voted) of shorting the embassy security
      funds knowing that the slack in security would be sensed by and taken advantage of by extremists, which did occur in line with their planning, in order to make our President look bad. They themselves have admitted that that they will doing ANYTHING to discredit Obama. Their agenda over the past two years have shown they care nothing for the lives of others. Republicans then are the guilty ones and responsible for the Benghazi murders, and should be arrested and brought to trial. We all can see just who isresponsible as the investigation comes around full circle back to them, i.e., those who so voted.

      Their aim then was to Frame the President, but the investigation they called
      for has backfired on them. The intensity of their vengeance, becoming obvious
      to us all, we should see less of them come 2014.

    • As I Said Before This No Good Ass Congress Cut The Funding Twice!! Once In 2011 And In The Sequester Plus Stevens Turn Down Extra Security!! Duh?? These Hearing Are Nothing But A Waste Of Time And Money!! GOP/ Tea Party Need To Quit Looking For The Boogie Man Cause They Are The Boogie Man!!!!!! I Can’t Wait Till Next Year So We Can Get Rid Of Some More Of These No Good As American Taliban Members Out Of Congress And The Senate!!!! We Will Keep The White House For Years To Come!!!!!!!!!!!

  • itsfun

    Yep, Obama knows nothing about Benghazi, the IRS problem, violating the first amendment rights of the AP reporters, or fast and furious. The man knows nothing about these things. Anybody that believes that is living in never never land with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

  • bg

    The truth is the IRS was right to investigate these groups. They do violate the statute for tax exempt status because they do not perform social services; they are political groups. It’s amusing to see the repub. zombie troops in full charge despite the fact that they have no idea what the issue is. It was funny to see that most of the people who called Beghazi a major scandal had no idea where Benghazi is.

  • It doesn’t matter who you put in office, people will find something to complain about.

  • montanabill

    The same questions remain:
    1. Who, specifically, reduced security after an urgent request for more had been issued?
    2. Who, specifically, originated the stand down orders?
    3. Name the people who insisted on the ‘video’ talking point and who, specifically, sent Susan Rice out to lie to us?
    Until those questions are answered, all ducking, dodging and blaming ‘departments’ will have no effect.

    The ‘I’m in charge and I’m responsible, but nobody told me and I didn’t know.” argument is just as damaging as us knowing the real truth.

    • DurdyDawg

      Maybe this will help you a bit monty.. (it’ll certainly make all of us feel better once it’s used on you and the bozo).

      • montanabill

        I’m sure it would make you feel better because then you could continue to live in the land of Contemplateyournavel while receiving your government assistance. Even Chris Mathews is now interrupting himself to ask, “What’s going on?”

        • Frank Benson

          i find that living in the newest right to work state that the hits keep on coming,the nerd and his croneys find hundreds of millions of dollars that they didnt know they had,remember fuzzy math?after they gut workers contracts,then the news comes out with more good news,c.e.o. compensation is up by 300%,but now we still have incompetent republicans blaming the over paid middleclass workers for all the ills in america ,i think i am losing my mind and my faith