President Obama is set to hold a news conference shortly with Turkey’s prime minister. Supposing he takes questions from the press, someone should ask him the following.
Mr. President, on Wednesday you gave a brief statement on the IRS abuse scandal, in which you said that acting commissioner Steven Miller had been asked for and had handed in his resignation. You suggested that this was the beginning of accountability in the IRS abuse scandal. But an hour later, Miller told IRS staff that he was merely ending his term a couple of weeks early, and that he expected an “orderly transition” to the next commissioner. In light of Miller’s remarks, Americans are wondering if you, Mr. President, really held Mr. Miller accountability for anything, or if you allowed him to depart on his own terms. Is Mr. Miller’s account accurate? Do you believe that he has undermined your effort to hold the agency accountable? Related to that, this morning America woke to the news that Ambassador Susan Rice is in line for a promotion to become your next National Security Adviser. Mr. President, do you think she deserves a promotion, after misleading the American people about the origins and nature of the terrorist attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead? And related to that, your spokesman, Jay Carney, has insisted that the White House only made “stylistic” changes to the Benghazi talking points. But the emails released last night show much more involvement, and that changes were made at a deputies meeting conducted inside the White House. Carney’s statements clearly were not accurate, and he speaks on your behalf. Looking at these three cases, what conclusion should Americans reach about your view of holding your subordinates accountable for their actions?