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Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: Scandals undermine government credibility at bad time for Obama’s presidency

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

Barely one in four Americans trusted the federal government before last Friday, and, after the IRS admitted that it targeted conservative groups and internal emails revealed that the Obama administration misled the American people about the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, that trust will only fall further.

According to an April Pew poll, just 28 percent of Americans view the federal government in Washington favorably. That is down five points from a year ago and is the lowest percentage ever in a Pew Research Center survey on the issue. And that poll was taken before this past Friday’s IRS and Benghazi revelations.

On Benghazi, administration officials have been telling the American people for months that false claims about a video inciting the Benghazi attacks originated from the CIA and the intelligence community, not Obama political appointees desperate to protect Obama’s election claims that al Qaeda had been defeated on his watch. But on Friday, ABC News reported that Obama political appointees were deeply involved in a wholesale re-writing of the Benghazi talking points, in direct contradiction to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s claim from the White House Press Briefing Room podium. It is impossible to see how any Americans can ever again trust anything Carney says.

On the IRS, a top IRS executive admitted Friday that, beginning in 2010, the agency had specifically targeted for possible audits conservative groups with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names. Then over the weekend, we learned that that the IRS also targeted groups that “criticize how the country is being run.” In March 2012, then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told Congress that the IRS was not targeting conservatives in any way, a claim contradicted by the Associated Press, which reported that senior IRS officials were notified about the targeting of conservative groups back in 2011.

“There has to be accountability for the people who did it,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told NBC News Sunday, “and, quite frankly, up until a few days ago, there’s got to be accountability for people who were telling lies about it being done.”

Obama’s two biggest second-term agenda items are: 1) the implementation of Obamacare, which will largely be done by the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services; and 2) passage of immigration reform, which will require convincing conservatives that the federal government will implement border security after the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country are granted amnesty.

Both items were a tough sell before last Friday. Now they are even tougher.

From The Washington Examiner
Editorial: Did IRS dirty tricks against Tea Party end in Cincinnati?
Tim Carney: Four Americans — and the truth — died in Benghazi
Charlie Spiering: Benghazi victim’s mother wishes Hillary Clinton happy Mother’s Day
Michal Conger: State Department wastes language-training funds while neglecting high-risk embassies
Phil Klein: Newseum’s decision to honor Hamas cameramen not just outrageous, but dangerous
Conn Carroll: One sentence that could save immigration reform
Hugh Hewitt: Hillary never called back
Eric Rozenman: Newseum discredits itself by honoring terrorists

In Other News
McClatchcy Newspapers, Immigration debate attracts wide swath of lobbyists: Money has played a major role in the current drama to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, with millions of dollars spent in the past year trying to influence or kill various proposals that could affect a variety of special interests.
The Wall Street Journal, A Top Contender at the Fed Faces Test Over Easy Money: The next chief of the Federal Reserve will decide when to reverse its easy-money policies, a judgment that could strangle the economic recovery if made too early or trigger runaway inflation if made too late.
The New York Times, Chinese Creating New Auto Niche Within Detroit: Dozens of companies from China are quietly planting roots in Detroit, investing in American businesses and new vehicle technology in what is seen as a first step toward the sale of Chinese cars in the United States.
The Washington Post, Rand Paul aggressively courting evangelicals: For the past few months, though, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has aggressively courted evangelicals, not only with the CBN special but also with a trip to Israel, numerous events with pastors and a handful of appearances in Iowa this weekend.
The Fresno Bee, Valley farm-labor shortage boosts wages for workers: Fears of a potential farm labor shortage have caused San Joaquin Valley growers to boost wages to as much as $10 an hour this year to attract and keep workers for the harvest season.

Lefty Playbook
Bill Keller attacks the Heritage Foundation for claiming amnesty would cost government $6.3 trillion.
Michael Tomasky on The Coming Attempt to Impeach Obama.
Jonathan Cohn says the Oregon Medicaid study should push us to rethink health care, not rethink Obamacare.
Kevin Drum on Why Benghazi May Finally Have Legs.

Righty Playbook
Stephen Hayes on the growing Benghazi scandal.
Fred Barnes on the specter of the 1986 amnesty and the current immigration debate.
Jay Cost on Democratic efforts to define Republicans as the part of old, white, Southern evangelicals.
James Pethokoukis on how Bernanke would break up the megabanks.

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