The reporters at Good Morning America on Friday continued White House damage control efforts on the growing scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos insisted that Barack Obama is "trying to turn the corner after a tough week fending off controversy."
Talking to Jon Karl, he wondered, "Are some of [the GOP] leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Karl lectured, "There's real concern about this." The journalist added that certain Republicans are talking about "impeachment." Instead of focusing on political rhetoric, Karl could have mentioned that the IRS official in charge during the Tea Party targeting is now running Obama's health care office. He skipped this development.
Karl also ignored that the woman, Sarah Hall Ingram, received almost $104,000 in bonuses from 2009 through 2012.
While Karl warned about Republicans making inappropriate political conclusions, absent was any discussion of what, exactly, the White House knew and when.
On Thursday, Stephanopoulos trumpeted that the administration was "firing back" and hoped to move on from the scandal.
On Thursday's Today, Chuck Todd warned that if the GOP investigates the IRS scandal too much, "the voters will punish them." Co-host Savannah Guthrie, sounding very much like Stephanopoulos, quizzed, "Is there a danger that they will overreach?"
A transcript of the May 17 GMA segment follows:
ABC Graphic: White House Damage Control: Reacting to Three Major Scandals
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to Washington, where President Obama is trying to turn the corner after a tough week fending off controversy. That rain that came right in the middle of the press conference with the Turkish prime minister said it all. But the White House now believes they have a strategy in place to limit the damage. ABC's Jon. Karl is here with that. Boy, is the White House going to be happy to see this week gone?
JON KARL: Oh, that's for sure, George. But, they've got a strategy here. The first part is simply to respond forcefully to these controversies. You know, you now saw the second official at the IRS forced out yesterday. The second is to move on. He's going to be in Baltimore today talking about one of his central proposals from the State of the Union address, universal pre-K education. But I got to tell you, today, the big show today will be on Capitol hill. The ousted commissioner, acting commissioner of the IRS, Steve Miller, testifying. He's the one who has s known about it for more than a year and never told Congress about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's what I wanted to ask you about. Republicans on Capitol Hill, they're pursuing several investigations right now. You're even hearing talk of impeachment from some of them. Are some of their leaders worried that some of the Republicans may be overplaying their hand?
KARL: There's real concern about this. You hear people saying, some Republicans on the right, saying this is worse than Watergate. Worse than Iran-Contra. Talking about impeachment. Well, Republican leaders are worried that could go way too far. In fact, you saw the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, today in Politico telling fellow Republicans, look, you don't talk about impeachment until you have the evidence.