MARK KNOLLER, CBS NEWS: Jay, in his speech again yesterday, President Obama mentioned the phony scandals that are part of an endless parade of distractions. Can you tell us what phony scandals heâ€™s talking about?
JAY CARNEY: I think we all remember a few weeks ago when Washington was consumed with a variety of issues that, while in some cases significant, there was an effort underway to turn them into partisan scandals. I donâ€™t think anybody here would doubt that. And what weâ€™ve seen as time has passed and more facts have become known -- whether itâ€™s about the attacks in Benghazi and the talking points, or revelations about conduct at the IRS -- that attempts to turn this into a scandal have failed.
And when it comes to the IRS, as I said the other morning, the President made very clear that he will -- that he wants the new leadership there to take action to correct improper conduct, and that is happening and he expects results.
What some in Congress have failed to do despite many attempts is to provide any evidence -- because there is none -- that that activity was in any way known by, or directed by, the White House, or was even partisan or political. As testimony has shown that Iâ€™ve seen produced publicly in the press -- although not by the Republican chairman of the committee -- self-identified Republicans who participated in the reviews of these applications for tax-exempt status clearly denied that there was any -- and this is just them saying this -- that there was any partisan or political motivation to what they were doing.
That doesn't excuse the conduct, doesn't say that itâ€™s the right thing to do. It means that we have to address poor performance as poor performance, and reject efforts to turn it into yet another partisan political football.
And I think our views -- and I would wax poetic on it if you want -- our views on the Benghazi issue are well known, and I think that other issues fall into that.
KNOLLER: So you mentioned two -- the IRS and Benghazi.
CARNEY: Well, Iâ€™m not going to catalogue -- again, I think there was a period where there was -- a lot more energy and focus was paid by some in Congress as well as in the media on issues that, while important, are not of the highest priority to the American people, and they were not scandals.