Obama Adviser Calls Fox News Benghazi Question “Offensive”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 19 2013 2:00 PM

White House Adviser Fires at Fox News Host for “Offensive” Benghazi Question

White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer made the Sunday talk show rounds and, as expected, fielded questions on the trifecta of scandals that has engulfed the White House: IRS targeting conservative groups, the attack in Benghazi, and the seizure of AP records. He mostly played defense, but Pfeiffer seems to have lost his patience a bit with Fox News host Chris Wallace, who repeatedly questioned him on the Benghazi attack and where the president was at the time. When asked whether Obama was in the Situation Room, Pfeiffer called the question “largely irrelevant.” And when Wallace continued pressing, Pfeiffer shot back: “The assertion from Republicans that somehow the president allowed this to happen or didn’t take action is offensive.”

Pfeiffer continued to insist Obama only learned about the IRS scandal through the media. And, on CBS News, he accused Republicans of playing politics with a serious issue. Pfeiffer acknowledged the IRS scandal involved “inexcusable conduct that needs to be fixed” but said Republicans are determined “to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions.”

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Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC News that the IRS controversy illustrated the “culture of intimidation” that exists in the administration, but he and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan acknowledged there is still no evidence of White House involvement. "We don't have anything to say that the president knew about it," Camp said. Sen. Rand Paul told CNN that there was a “written policy” to target those opposed to Obama, but when pressed on the issue he acknowledged he had never seen the supposed memo, although he has heard about it.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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