National Politics | Politics

The smoking chief-of-staff

AP photo

AP photo

Democrats circled the wagons this week as strategists like Bob Beckel insisted that there was no evidence that President Obama knew of the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Of course he would have a plausible deniability alibi, they sniffed.

So how to explain the White House’s belated admission that Obama’s right hand knew?

Ed Rogers, who worked in Papa Bush’s office of Chief-of-Staff John Sununu explains this smoking gun in The Washington Post:

“My personal favorite of all the new revelations from the Obama IRS scandal is that White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler told White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the impending IRS inspector general report, but of course the White House chief of staff did not tell the president.

“I sat in a White House chief of staff’s office every day for more than two years. The only reason the legal counsel would tell the chief of staff about an impending report or disclosure would be so the chief of staff could tell the president. The legal counsel would never assume that information shared with the chief of staff would not go to the president. In my experience, a legal counsel never would believe that there was information that was appropriate for the chief of staff to know but that was inappropriate for the president to know. Out of all the news that has emerged regarding the Obama IRS scandal, this is the most curious whopper I’ve heard so far.”

Oh.

Not that you’ll read this news in Democratic press organs like The Detroit Free Press or New York Times. With the scandal out in the open, these partisan outlets have realized that the greatest threat to the Republic is. . . that Republicans might gain from it.

“GOP to ‘stop at nothing’ in scandal investigation” warns an A1 Free Press headline. “GOP Energized: Leaders Urging Caution as Passions of Rank and File Ignite,” added a NYTimes front pager. Good that they’re on the trail of the Big Questions.

Henry Payne
Henry Payne is the auto critic for The Detroit News. A 25-year newspaper veteran, Payne is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated cartoonist with United Feature Syndicate, a former columnist and editorial writer for The News, and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and other publications. His auto reviews appear every Thursday in the Drive section.