President Obama’s spokesman, to the irritation of the White House press corps, accounted for the shifting narrative about the White House team’s knowledge of the IRS scandal by pointing the finger back at the media for failing to ask the right questions to get more information.
“I answered the questions that were asked of me,” Jay Carney said during Tuesday’s press briefing when asked why he waited until Monday to reveal that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough learned of the IRS scandal in April but decided not to tell the president.
“We have been extremely transparent in providing information,” he added. Carney explained that he revealed the McDonough information Monday because of errant reporting about the IRS scandal.
Otherwise, he maintained, “I gave you the information in response to the questions [asked] and we have provided an enormous amount of information.”
The press briefing proceeded predictably, with one reporter grilling Carney about exactly which senior members of the White House staff learned of the IRS scandal, how (by email? by phone?), and when — questions that seemed to irritate Carney.
“You just dinged us for not asking precise questions, now I’m asking precise questions and you’re acting like I’m petulant,” Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols told Carney.
“I cant believe anyone would ever call you petulant,” Carney said.
“Or you, forthcoming,” Nichols shot back.