Obama denies IRS deliberately targeted Tea Party
The man who called reports that the IRS targeted conservatives "outrageous" and "intolerable" now says it never happened.
Appearing on The Daily Show, the president told John Stewart that it was the Republicans' fault that the IRS tried to implement a poorly written and "vague" law and that the real scandal was a lack of funding for the tax agency.
President Obama defended the IRS Tuesday in an interview with “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, saying the tea party-targeting scandal was actually Congress‘ fault for passing “a crummy law” and that the real problem is the agency doesn’t have enough money.
Mr. Obama, who has overseen a series of scandals at the IRS, the Veterans Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and now the Office of Personnel Management, was asked why government didn’t seem to be working on his watch.
But the president said he’s not to blame, using the IRS as an example of how what went wrong wasn’t his fault, and questioning whether tea party groups were ever targeted.
The IRS‘ internal auditor concluded that the agency did, in fact, target conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, and Mr. Obama’s own Justice Department is still conducting a criminal investigation into the targeting.
Mr. Obama, though, disputed that version Tuesday, according to the pool reporter traveling with the president.
Mr. Obama said Congress “passed a crummy law” that provided vague guidance to the people who worked at the IRS. And he said that employees implemented the law “poorly and stupidly.”
The president went on to say that the “real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”
Congress, prodded by Republican leaders, has sliced money from the IRS, saying it’s punishment for wasteful spending and for the targeting scandal.
As we've come to expect, Obama is a president who doesn't let the facts get in the way of whatever narrative he is pushing at the time. "Not a smidgeon of corruption" has now become "it never happened."
How deep is the memory hole? The president also said yesterday that the VA is basically fixed, claiming that wait times for care have been reduced to "just a few days":
“The VA is handling millions more appointments, inside and outside the VA, and delivering more care,” Mr. Obama said. “On average, veterans are waiting just a few days for an appointment. And that’s all good news.”
The president also said more work needs to be done, and that he’s “still not satisfied” with the VA’s overall performance. But it was Mr. Obama’s claim of “just a few days” that left critics inside and outside the VA system shaking their heads in bewilderment.
“Under President Obama, the VA’s budget has massively increased, yet the backlog of disability claims more than doubled in his first term … wait times for health care have increased, and the department remains devoid of any sort of accountability,” said Dan Caldwell, legislative and political director of Concerned Veterans for America. “Even after the VA wait list scandal and another funding increase from Congress as part of the VA reform bill passed last summer, wait times for health care have continued to increase and veterans have a ‘choice card’ most are unable to use.”
Critics also pointed to a study by The Washington Post last month that found the number of veterans on wait lists for health care has risen 50 percent in the past year.
“One out of every three veterans waiting for care at the VA has already died, and President Obama still doesn’t have a plan to change the culture at the VA,” said Cory Fritz, an aide to Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “Instead of more hollow platitudes, the president needs to join House Republicans in working to deliver real accountability and reform for our veterans.”
A veteran who works for the VA said it’s taken him five years to get the necessary treatment for hearing loss and a joint ailment. He called Mr. Obama’s claim “stupefyingly untrue.”
There's a vet with a way with words: "stupefyingly untrue" is an excellent way to describe "The Big Lie."
Is the president just lying, or is he delusional? If he really believes there was no IRS targeting scandal – despite the report by his inspector general – and if he really believes that wait times at the VA have vastly improved – despite all the evidence to the contrary – perhaps the president needs to get out more, play a little golf, go on a vacation...