White House press secretary Jay Carney claimed to CNN’s Piers Morgan last night that he’s actually enjoyed the crush of scandals over recent days.
“I would say that it’s been a challenging week, but in many ways, a week that I’ve enjoyed because I think that when a press secretary goes to the briefing room and there’s a lot of intensity in the room and a lot of news, that, you know, it’s inspiring reporters to ask hard questions. You know, that’s what it’s all about,” Carney said.
“And I have no problem with that and I think that it’s part of our democracy and part of what makes the process great. So I — you know, some people have said oh — you know, you’ve really been on the firing line and, you know, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve kind of enjoyed it,” he added.
Morgan noted damning commentaries from the New York Times and the Washington Post saying President Obama has been acting like a bystander while letting Carney take the heat.
“What’s remarkable to me, Piers, is that those very fine journalists who wrote those stories would be writing something far worse if a president, this president or any other president, was directly involved in a criminal investigation that in part was looking at his own administration,” Carney said. “That would be — there’s a history to it and I assume the two people who wrote that know the history and understand that it is entirely inappropriate for a president or a White House to be engaged in or, you know, inappropriately knowledgeable about a criminal investigation the likes of which is under way as we understand it by the Justice Department.”
“So you know, those kind of narratives sound right but when you peel back the onion just a little bit, the facts just don’t support it. What the president has done when it comes to the IRS situation is that when he found out based on the I.G.’s report that there had been inappropriate and wrong conduct by IRS personnel, he spoke out about it, he made clear he thought it was an outrage and he has taken action,” he said.
The press secretary also took issue with Morgan’s characterization of the three scandals as scandals.
“One is a total concoction by Republicans on the first hand, you know, and the other, I mean, it depends on the IRS issue, absolutely,” Carney said, referring to Benghazi first.
Asked if he was outraged by the third scandal, the AP phone records grab, as a journalist, Carney said “obviously the Department of Justice, obviously the people involved, obviously the deputy attorney general, were fully aware of the investigation and the activity of that investigation. We at the White House appropriately are not engaged in that activity. It would be wrong if we were.”
But he saved time at the end of the interview for more slamming of “the Benghazi affair that was contrived by Republicans and I think has fallen apart largely this week.”
“The fact of the matter is that we — that this administration has a record on transparency that outdoes any previous administrations, and we are committed to that. The president is committed to that,” he said.