White House press secretary Jay Carney appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday to discuss President Barack Obama’s recent “pivot” back to economic issues, which is set to be kicked off with a speech in Illinois.
Host Joe Scarborough, however, also wanted to discuss the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, which a visibly irritated Carney dismissed as a “phony scandal.”
“At the beginning, you said it was just the Cincinnati office,” Scarborough said. “And then we find out more people in Washington are involved. And then this past week we found out, despite what any of us think of the investigations on Capitol Hill — and I see you smiling, I don’t know that there’s anything to smile about, that it wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati, that this information actually went up to the Chief Counsel of the IRS, which was one of two political appointees by the president of the United States and the entire IRS. So it doesn’t sound phony to me, Jay.”
That led to a brief yet tense exchange between Scarborough and Carney:
CARNEY: I greatly appreciate that that is the line pushed by Republicans who want Washington to be focused on scandals instead of the economy —
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no, no, Jay — is that the truth or not? Don’t give me talking points! That doesn’t work on this show. So answer my question, and then let’s talk about the economy.
CARNEY: When you get to the question I’ll answer it—
SCARBOROUGH: I gave you the question, and you decided to fight me, Jay. Stop your games with me. We’ve known each other for too long. I’m not playing your games. I’m not somebody you talk down to from your podium.