(The Root) — A week after the Internal Revenue Service admitted to deliberately targeting for heightened scrutiny groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name, President Obama used a news conference this morning to call the practice “outrageous” and to announce that he “will not tolerate it.”
“This is pretty straightforward,” he said at his joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous, and there’s no place for it. And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity.
“You should feel that way, regardless of party,” he added.
The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Capehart predicts that while the president “couldn’t have been more clear,” and that “only a diehard, right-leaning partisan could question the sincerity of President Obama’s unequivocal outrage,” his critics likely won’t be satisfied with the response.
Indeed, former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich used an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday to link the IRS scandal to a larger critique of the Obama administration, and as a basis for skepticism about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. “How can you put Obamacare under [the] Internal Revenue Service? Remember this is an administration which will not profile terrorists but [will] profile patriots, profile constitutional groups,” he said. “I mean, this is almost madness.”
Obama said in his remarks that he first became aware of the issue on Friday, when the initial reports were published.