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Obama dismisses IRS targeting of conservatives: ‘They’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged’

President Obama rejected the notion that the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups was illegal — or even improper — during his interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Thursday.

Obama was at American University to sell his flailing health care law to the young people upon which the insurance exchanges heavily rely. As promised, Matthews allowed him to make his pitch with no tough questions or pushback.

But the interview became interesting when the Hardball host asked why Americans were growing increasingly skeptical of government. Obama noted that the media never seems interested in government success stories. “When we do things right, they don’t get a lot of attention,” he said.

OBAMA: That’s not — that’s not something that’s reported about. If, on the other hand, you’ve got an office in Cincinnati, in the IRS office that — I think, for bureaucratic reasons, is trying to streamline what is a difficult law to interpret about whether a nonprofit is actually a political organization, deserves a tax exempt agency. And they’ve got a list, and suddenly everybody’s outraged.

MATTHEWS: 501(c)(4) is tricky to begin with, how to define it.

OBAMA: To begin with.

The president even appeared annoyed that liberal commentators once dared to challenge him on the point:

OBAMA: And by the way, Chris, I’ll point out that there are some so-called progressives and, you know, perceived to be liberal commentators who during that week were just as outraged at the possibility that these folks, you know, had — had been, you know, at the direction of — the Democratic Party, in some way — discriminated against these folks.

One of those so-called progressives was Obama himself, who in May called the targeting of conservative groups “outrageous” and “something that people are properly concerned about.” (Related: Obama steps up criticism of IRS targeting)

Also in May, the Obama Justice Department pledged to investigate the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. As of last week, none of the affected groups had been contacted by any federal investigators. (Related: Federal investigators still not contacting conservative groups targeted by IRS)

Obama later passed blame for his failures onto his cabinet agencies — claiming that “somebody somewhere at this very moment is screwing something up” — and repeated the nauseating platitude that “government’s not somebody else. Government’s us.”

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