Perhaps you’ve had weeks that you could just take back. You know, roll back the clock and start over. Maybe you’d just wish all the bad stuff away.
President Barack Obama has had one of those weeks. I’m not sure yet it’s going to get any better, but he’ll get to relive a good bit of it if he tunes in to public TV’s news coverage at the end of what only can be described in the White House as the Week from Hell.
Let’s tick off the trouble:
* Benghazi. On Sept. 11, 2012, a mob stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four U.S. officials died in the fire fight, including the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. The Obama administration trotted out the U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, to give some version of what happened at the consulate. It turns out her message was a bit, shall we say, muddled. Terror attack? Who did it? Al-Qaida? How come there wasn’t more protection at the consulate? Did anyone ask for it? Was it refused? If so, why? The questions have been swirling ever since and the president remains on the defensive over all of it.
* IRS. The Internal Revenue Service this week admitted that it targeted conservative tea party patriot groups seeking tax-exempt status under federal tax law. The president called the allegations “outrageous,” and this week announced the forced resignation of the interim IRS boss, on whose watch these activities occurred. Conservative lawmakers have been pounding the president and everyone around him for some explanation as to why it happened. This controversy is still building.
* Associated Press phone logs. The AP’s reporters and editors had their phone logs seized in response to a Justice Department probe into reporting on a foiled bomb plot in May 2012, reportedly on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of a U.S. commando team in Pakistan. AP officials are outraged over what they say is an unjustified seizure of confidential logs that could jeopardize their sources and their ability to report the news.
The PBS NewsHour and Washington Week in Review both will be all over these stories. The NewsHour airs on KACV at 6 p.m. Friday, followed at 7 by Washington Week. If you want cable-news hysteria, you won’t find it on either broadcast. Instead, you’ll hear reasonable people discussing these matters in reasonable tones.
Which is what we ought to get as well from the principals involved at the center of all three tempests.