I mean, it’s so bad, even CNN’s Piers Morgan is seeing the light.
First up? From the Ghost of Train Wrecks of the Past, Benghazi-gate.
“The whole thing defies logic,” Obama said at a White House event with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “And the fact that this whole thing keeps getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations.”
The president defended his administration against persistent allegations that it tried to disguise the Benghazi attack as a spontaneous riot instead of an act of terror – charges Obama dismisses as little more than a “political circus.”
Next? A Couple of Ghosts from Train Wrecks of the Present.
Present train wreck a) IRS-gate
President Barack Obama, at a White House appearance with the British prime minister, said that he wanted all the facts but used strong terms to condemn the reported conduct.
“I’ve got no patience with it. I will not tolerate it,” he said. “And we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this.”
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration will release an audit report later this week. In the meantime, here are five big unanswered questions looming over the IRS.
Present train wreck b) AP-gate
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.
“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know,” Pruitt said.
And then there is this visit from the Ghost of Train Wrecks from the Future: HHS Needs money-gate.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.
But Republicans charged that Sebelius’s outreach was improper because it pressured private companies and other groups to support the Affordable Care Act. The latest controversy has emerged as the law faces a string of challenges from GOP lawmakers in Washington and skepticism from many state officials across the country.
“To solicit funds from health-care executives to help pay for the implementation of the President’s $2.6 trillion health spending law is absurd,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement. “I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law.”
What’s next, Mr. President? A statement on the Gosnell verdict and how you will fight for the rights of women to have their babies killed in a clean, hygienic, pristine setting at any time and with “no cost sharing?”
I’d say this is also a rough week to be Jay Carney.