White House chief spokesman Jay Carney got dressed down by an MSNBC host Wednesday morning when he remarked that President Obama’s focus was on issues like the economy, not on the scandals that have besieged the administration such as IRS-gate, which he called “phony.”
The president’s focus “shouldn’t be on the skirmishes that cause gridlock; it shouldn’t be on the phony scandals that have consumed so much attention here, all to come to naught,” Carney told “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough.
“It should be focused on what we can do to strengthen and grow the middle class, because when the middle class is thriving, when the middle class is growing, our economy is at its best and that’s what we need to do as we move forward in the 21st century,” he said.
Scarborough questioned Carney’s use of the term, “phony scandals.”
“I have to ask you this: What phony scandals? Do you think the IRS is a phony scandal?” Scarborough asked.
Carney claimed that the GOP had blown the IRS scandal out of proportion by cherry picking the facts.
“I think what we’ve seen is inappropriate activity that the president forcefully came out and said he would not tolerate and that he installed somebody at the IRS to take care of,” he said, and accused Republicans of leaking “cherry-picked information” while neglecting evidence that casts a favorable light on the White House.
“At the beginning, you said it was just the Cincinnati office,” Scarborough began. He then laid out the evidence that finally ended up at the White House doorstep, noting “it wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati, that 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.”
Carney began, “I greatly appreciate that that is the line pushed by Republicans who want Washington to be focused on scandals instead of the economy—”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, Jay!” Scarborough cut in. “Is that the truth or not? Don’t give me talking points! That doesn’t work on this show…So answer my question, and then let’s talk about the economy.”
“When you get to the answer I’ll answer it—”
“I gave you the question, and you decided to fight me, Jay,” Scarborough said.
When Carney tried to push the same White House talking points, Scarborough said “Stop your games with me. We’ve known each other for too long. I’m not playing your games! I’m not somebody you talk down to from your podium!”
It didn’t help. Carney continued giving the same line.
Watch the video provided by Mediaite.
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