White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s scheduled speech in Illinois is meant to put national focus on the economy instead of “phony scandals” concocted by Congress, prompting “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough to launch a heated barrage of questions about the IRS scandal.
Asked if he thought the IRS scandal was “phony,” Carney said that House Republicans had “cherry-picked” information only to drop their case against the agency once the full details emerged.
“I see you smiling, I don’t know that there’s anything to smile about,” Scarborough said to Carney. “It wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati. This information actually went up to the Chief Counsel of the IRS, which was one of two political appointees by the President of the United States and the entire IRS. So it doesn’t sound phony to me, Jay.”
“I greatly appreciate that that is the line being pushed by Republicans who want Washington to be focused on scandals instead of the economy,” Carney responded before Scarborough interrupted.
“Don’t give me talking points, because that doesn’t work on this show,” Scarborough said. “So answer my question, and then let’s talk about the economy.”
Carney conceded that the White House accepts that it needs to get to the bottom of what went on at the IRS, but said the economy deserves Washington’s focus.
Watch the full “Morning Joe” segment below, courtesy of MSNBC:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.