President Obama only took one combined question on the two scandals plaguing his administration — his administration’s reaction to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi and the IRS’s intimidation of conservative groups during the election season.
The solitary question, asked by The Associated Press’s Julie Pace, attempted to cover the range of issues that Obama has thus far been able to avoid.
“I wanted to ask about the IRS and Benghazi,” Pace began.
“When did you first learn that the IRS was targeting conservative political groups?” she asked. “Do you feel that the IRS has betrayed the public’s trust and what do you think the repercussions for these actions should be?”
“And on Benghazi, newly public emails show that the White House and the State Department appear to have been more closely involved with the crafting of the talking points on the attack than first acknowledged. Do you think the White House misled the public about its role in shaping the talking points, and do you stand by your administration’s assertions that the talking points were not purposely changed to downplay the prospects of terrorism?” Pace asked.
It was the only question Obama took on either issue. Obama responded that he only learned about the IRS’s actions via news reports on Friday and that the editing of the Benghazi talking points is merely “a sideshow.”
The White House pre-selected Pace to be the sole American reporter given the opportunity to question the president at Monday’s press conference.
A British reporter also asked a question during the joint news conference with Prime Minister David Cameron, but he did not ask about either scandal.