Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Obama surviving scandals so far

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama

Inside Washington, continuing developments in the Internal Revenue Service, Associated Press and Benghazi scandals may have given President Obama the worst week of his presidency so far. But outside Washington, Obama seems to be doing just fine.

According to a CNN poll taken on Friday and Saturday of last week, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Obama is doing as president. That is UP two points from the last time CNN polled Americans back on April 5-7. Gallup’s daily tracking poll closely follows the CNN survey’s pattern. Obama’s current approval rating is 50 percent, which is up from 49 percent in early April.

Mixed results
Also good for the White House, 61 percent of Americans believe Obama’s claims about the IRS scandal are true, and 55 percent believe the IRS acted alone. And on Benghazi, a majority of Americans, 50 percent, believe Obama administration officials tried to tell the truth about Benghazi at the time.

But the good news ends there. A majority of Americans believe all three scandals (IRS 55, Benghazi 55, and AP 53 percent) are “very important.” And on Benghazi, not only do 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue, but 59 percent believe Obama could have prevented the Benghazi attacks entirely.

More importantly, a majority of Americans believe that Republicans in Congress are “responding appropriately” to both the IRS (54 percent) and Benghazi (59 percent) scandals (CNN did not ask if Republicans were acting appropriately on the AP scandal).

While Obama may be weathering the scandal storm so far, that does not mean his agenda is escaping unscathed. As Roll Call‘s Stuart Rothenberg reports, it already appears that Obama’s scandals are hurting Democratic efforts to recruit top candidates for the 2014 mid-term elections.

If Republicans are able to capture the Senate in 2014, they may have the IRS, Benghazi and the AP scandals to thank.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Washington bureaucrats use force to suffocate liberty
Editorial: America’s veterans deserve better than this
Byron York: Immigration fight moves to House, with deep divide over legalization
Phil Klein: Four possible Obamacare futures
Conn Carroll: The Obama scandals’ case for limited government
Michael Barone: Obama’s IRS and AP scandals cast Big Chill on free speech
James Jay Carafano: Boston shows value of homeland security coordination, training
Hugh Hewitt: House should expose Washington’s growing culture of intimidation

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Obama’s Counsel Told of IRS Audit Findings Weeks Ago: The White House’s chief lawyer learned weeks ago that an audit of the IRS likely would show that agency employees inappropriately targeted conservative groups, a senior White House official said.
The Washington Post, A rare peek into a Justice Department leak probe: When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.
The Wall Street Journal, Employers Eye Bare-Bones Health Plans Under New Law: Employers are increasingly recognizing they may be able to avoid certain penalties under the federal health law by offering very limited plans that can lack key benefits such as hospital coverage.
The Washington Post, Banks slow to pay out mortgage relief funds: Less than half of the money due to U.S. homeowners in settlements brokered by the government has been paid, delaying help to victims of the discrimination and shoddy lending that epitomized the crisis.
The Los Angeles Times, Suburbs overtake cities as home of majority of poor: Urban gentrification and the decline of manufacturing are among the causes, according to the Brookings Institution. The surge of poverty in suburbs has left many social service agencies unprepared.

Lefty Playbook
Greg Sargent reports that Harry Reid is planning on ending the filibuster this July.
FAIR attacks Jonathan Karl as a “right-mole at ABC News.”
Kevin Drum blames a “lone specialist” in Cincinnati for the entire IRS scandal.
Think Progress reports that 1,200 Harvard students have signed a petition demanding an investigation into Jason Richwine’s thesis.

Righty Playbook
Jonathan Strong on what really happened with the Benghazi emails.
Bill Kristol on The Real Obama Scandal.
Robert Costa reports that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is talking impeachment.
Chris Edwards on IRS abuses past and present.

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