By Alex Isenstadt
The 2014 midterm just got a lot more interesting.
The twin dramas of the government shutdown and botched rollout of Obamacare have snapped a sleepy 2014 election season out of its slumber, sharpening the battle lines for each party and setting the stage for a consequential midterm that few expected even two months ago.
The spring and summer months were filled with charges and countercharges about the Internal Revenue Service, wiretapping, Syria and immigration. Politicians recycled old attack lines and operatives confidently predicted control of Congress would remain status quo after next November.
No more. The parties’ competing political narratives — the dangers of a tea party-controlled party versus the perils of President Barack Obama’s far-reaching health care law — have been thrown into sharp relief the past several weeks. Now each party has something tangible to point to — that touch voters’ lives in concrete ways — to argue that the other should be booted from office.
NOTE: No conservative group in the ‘scandal’ was denied an exemption.
THE DAILY BEAST
In Dan Brown’s new novel, Inferno, the lead character is struck with amnesia, unable to remember critical events even as he’s trying to save the world. Let’s borrow that useful plot device and imagine if American journalists woke up and couldn’t remember who was president. It would be interesting to ask them a few questions:
What would you think of a president under whom the IRS targeted his harshest political opponents, during his reelection campaign?
What would you think of a president whose obsession with leaks and secrecy was so great that he used the Justice Department to obtain phone records of reporters, in violation of Justice’s established procedure?
What would you think of a president whose head of the Department of Justice signed a criminal warrant against a leading journalist working for the news organization most critical of the president—and monitored the movements of the journalist and even went after his mother’s phone records?
By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News
President Barack Obama’s team emerged on Sunday to defend his handling of revelations that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for scrutiny, as senior Republicans conceded they lacked evidence — so far — that the president directed the abuses.
Republicans appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit with hopes of sustaining their political momentum generated during this past week, one of the toughest weeks of Obama’s presidency. A series of controversies — that the IRS had targeted conservative groups, new questions about the administration’s response to last year’s terrorist attack in Benghazi, and news that the Department of Justice seized phone records of Associated Press journalists as part of an investigation regarding national security leaks — have forced the White House onto the defensive.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said the IRS controversy amounted to evidence of a “culture of intimidation” by the administration. But he and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., admitted they lacked evidence that the targeting of conservatives was ordered by the White House.
YOU WILL REMEMBER THAT SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL LED THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN A WAR TO RENDER PRESIDENT OBAMA INEFFECTUAL AND IMPOTENT IN AN ATTEMPT TO LIMIT HIM TO ONE TERM:
- Obama picks temporary IRS head as Tea Party decries scandal (news.yahoo.com)
- White House defends IRS handling, McConnell asserts ‘culture of intimidation’ (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- Obama Appears Unscathed By Unfolding Scandals (huffingtonpost.com)
- McConnell: IRS flap ‘critical mistake’ (politico.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: McConnell: IRS Revelations ‘Just The Beginning’ (patdollard.com)
- Obama agenda seems to be weathering controversies (news.yahoo.com)
- McConnell calls for review after IRS admission (politico.com)
- Week of controversies take center stage for Sunday talk shows (firstread.nbcnews.com)
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Best coverage of this serious news story.
THE HUFFINGTON POST
By Sam Stein
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday that Steven Miller, the acting director of the Internal Revenue Service, had resigned amid criticism over the tax agency’s handling of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Speaking from the White House’s East Room, the president said that he had instructed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold the IRS accountable for its missteps, revealed in a Treasury Department inspector general’s report released on Tuesday. Among the steps Lew took was to request and accept “the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS.”
“It is important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward,” said Obama.
The president also said that he had instructed Lew to implement the recommendations of the inspector general’s report which looked into why groups with words like “tea party” in their name had been forced to endure more scrutiny when applying for 501(c)(4) status. Obama added that he would “work with Congress as it performs its oversight role” in investigating the IRS.
- IRS Acting Commissioner Resigns (kktv.com)
- Officials who don’t exist can’t resign (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Boehner on IRS Scandal: ‘Who is going to jail?’ (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Marco Rubio Calls For Non-Existent IRS Commissioner To Resign (blogs.browardpalmbeach.com)
- Obama: Acting IRS commissioner has resigned (mercurynews.com)
- Boehner on IRS scandal: ‘Who is going to jail?’ (wyff4.com)
- Marco Rubio Humiliates Himself By Demanding That the Non-Existent IRS Commissioner Resign (politicususa.com)
- IRS gave liberal groups a pass as it targeted conservatives: report (blogs.marketwatch.com)
- Obama says watchdog report’s findings on IRS ‘intolerable’ (reuters.com)
THE WASHINGTON POST
National News Alert
President Obama announced Wednesday that Steve T. Miller, the acting commissioner of the IRS, had resigned in the wake of the controversy over the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. In an angry statement in the White House, Obama said the IRS’s actions were “inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it and I’m angry about it.” He added, “I will not tolerate this type of behavior in any agency but especially the IRS given the power it has and the reach it has.”
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