Carney Likens Questions About Scandals To Birth Certificate Controversy


MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS: On Sunday, Dan Pfeiffer said that one thing Republicans do when they lack an agenda is try -- I’m quoting him directly -- “try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations.” Can you describe what he’s talking about?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE: I think we have a history here already for the past several years of attempts by Republicans to politicize matters --

GARRETT: Is there anything that's -- an issue now fall into that category in your opinion -- in the White House’s opinion?

CARNEY: On which issue?

GARRETT: I’m asking you. Do you have anything that's happening now, swirling around, that falls into any of these categories?

CARNEY: I would say -- again, Republican obsession with the talking points surrounding Benghazi --

GARRETT: Would fall into that category.

CARNEY: -- is provably and demonstrably political and has focused on talking points instead of the tragedy that happened in Benghazi, the need to find those responsible for the deaths of four Americans and hold them to justice, and the need to take -

GARRETT: Does the IRS fall into that category?

CARNEY: -- and the need to take action to ensure that what happened in Benghazi doesn't happen again -- which is why you heard the President call on Congress to take action to provide the funds necessary to enhance our security around our embassies around the world.

GARRETT: Does the IRS fall into that category?

CARNEY: On this, I think you have seen -- I’m not going to catalogue some of the more outlandish statements that we’ve seen from some Republicans on this matter, on the IRS, but it is absolutely the case that there have been Republicans who have tried to politicize this right away and tried to turn it into a partisan issue.

But the President, from the moment he found out what the results of this inquiry were, was absolutely clear about how outraged he was by the conduct, how absolutely unacceptable the conduct was, and his insistence that people be held accountable for that conduct. And I think that that was reflected in what Dan Pfeiffer said on Sunday and what the President has said on the times that he’s spoken about this.

GARRETT: Does congressional curiosity about the Department of Justice dealing with the AP situation fall into that category?

CARNEY: Not that I’ve seen yet. I think that these are matters in terms of specific investigations that, appropriately, we can't comment on. But that doesn't mean that there aren’t legitimate questions that are asked by Congress or other parties on matters like this.

GARRETT: Do questions raised about HHS Secretary Sebelius and her efforts to raise funds through the private sector for Enroll Now fall into that category?

CARNEY: We can go down the list of -- we could say what about the President’s birth certificate? Was that legitimate --

GARRETT: I’m not asking about that. I’m not asking about that. I’m just asking -- this is the last thing --

CARNEY: Okay. I am sure that as is the case with --

GARRETT: Is that a legitimate form of inquiry?

CARNEY: I can answer your question about that matter and the precedent for what Secretary Sebelius has done and is doing, and there is precedent for it, including in the previous administration.

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