AP Challenges Carney: Doesn't Responsibility Rest With President Obama?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney fielded questions at the daily briefing on Tuesday on a broad spectrum of issues confronting the administration over the past week. A reporter from the Associated Press opened up the floor by challenging Carney on the "confluence of issues," saying that in the cases of Benghazi, the IRS, and the DOJ, "you've placed the burden somewhere else." With the Benghazi attack, the Obama administration cited political motivations on the Hill. In the case of the IRS flagging groups based on political ties, bureaucrats. In regards to the Justice Department's seizure of AP phone records, he pointed to Carney saying "matters are handled independently." [SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS PRESS BRIEFING]
The reporter trudged on. "But it's the president's administration. So I wonder, doesn't the responsibility for setting tone and setting direction ultimately rest with the president on these matters?"
Carney began his response by saying that it is the job of the president to set tone, "and you see and hear him do that every day ... but I think you have to separate these issues."
Pointing to the president's remarks on Monday in which he spoke about the "clear political circus Benghazi has become," Carney said that the president's response to questions about reports of activity by the IRS were entirely different.
"He made clear if reports about activity prove to be true, he'd find them outrageous and expect appropriate action," he said. "He has no tolerance for targeting of specific groups." At this point, however, Carney stressed that the matter is under review by the IG and that any action needed to be taken will have to happen after that report becomes available.
On the issue of the DOJ's alleged seizure of AP phone records, Carney said, "Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of [an] attempt to seek phone records of the AP. We're not involved with ongoing criminal investigations. Those matters are handled by the Justice Dept," he said.
Although he told the press that he "understands" questions about the DOJ's actions and 'understands them well,' Carney concluded that it would be inappropriate for him to have answers to a matter that is the subject of an investigation.
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