War of words escalates between Issa and White House

Rep. Darrell Issa didn't mince any words when describing White House press secretary Jay Carney yesterday:

It began when Issa told Crowley that the White House was misleading the public about the extent of the IRS controversy.


"Their paid liar, their spokesperson, pictured behind, he's still making up things about what happens in calling this local rogue," Issa said, motioning towards a photograph of Carney on the screen behind Crowley. "The reason the (IRS official) Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth is not because there is a rogue in Cincinnati, it's because this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of Washington headquarters and we're getting to proving it."

These claims were based, Issa said, on interviews with IRS officials conducted by his committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, though as of now no definitive account has been made public establishing that the IRS officials engaged in the targeting of conservative groups, in the Cincinnati office, were doing so at the direction of officials in Washington, D.C.

"The president's spokesperson is saying whatever is convenient at the time and the story changes," Issa told Crowley. "What we have is people coming in to transcribed interviews. They're saying under penalty of crimes that certain things are true. We have subpoenaed documents that would support that, that they say, e-mails that went back and forth. The administration is so far not providing those documents. As we get those documents, as we will get Fast and Furious documents eventually and so on, we will learn the whole truth."

The pushback from the White House, in the person of David Plouffe, was a vicious smear of Issa that was debunked 20 years ago:

"Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler," tweeted David Plouffe, the political guru (and unofficial adviser) for President Obama, referring to the chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

"And loose ethically today," Plouffe ended his tweet, linking to a story about Issa answering questions on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley about the controversy over IRS staffers targeting conservative groups for scrutiny, in which Issa referred to White House press secretary Jay Carney as a "paid liar."

Asked for a response to Plouffe's tweet, Issa's spokesman Frederick Hill told CNN, "Looks like the Chairman hit a nerve today. Hopefully President Obama follows Plouffe on Twitter and may finally see some information from a senior advisor about what's going on at the IRS."

It's interesting that Plouffe would mention ethics, considering the fact that he worked for David Axelrod's company who handled Mayor Richard Daley's elections in Chicago.

Yeah - strong ethics there.

The arson charge is a smear, plain and simple. But calling Carney a liar crosses one of those invisible lines in Washington. With so many people lying all the time, choosing to use that epithet and applying it to one person is kind of silly.

Still, Plouffe's outrageous comments take the prize for lowest blow of the week. It appears that the White House has decided to get in the gutter to hit back against criticism of their handling of the IRS scandal and I'm sure Republicans won't be far behind in the race to the bottom.

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