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Sunday Study Guide: Pfeiffer, McConnell, Rumsfeld and the Roundtable

Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Adviser to the President

  • Dan Pfeiffer, senior adviser to the President, maintains that the first time anyone inside the White House was made aware that the IRS was targeting conservative groups was “when we heard a few weeks ago that there was an active inspector general report into the IRS.” He also added they were not given any details “until they came out in the press.”
  • On Thursday, he was part of a group of several senior White House officials who met with “outside Democratic strategists for advice on how to get past the controversies and back on track advancing the President’s agenda.”

Watch his PRESS Pass appearance and check out 8 Things to about Dan Pfeiffer

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

  • Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been talking about the IRS unfairly targeting conservative political groups since last June. That’s when he called-out the agency, during a speech he gave in Washington, for “demanding attendance lists, meeting transcripts and donor lists” from tea party groups across the country.
  • This week he described the IRS scandal as “no little thing” and said “this is a big thing.” Later on the Senate floor he called on the president to “make available, completely and without restriction, everyone who can answer the questions we have as to what was going on at the IRS, who knew about it, and how high it went.”
  • Sen. McConnell, who is up for re-election in 2014, did pick up the endorsement of a tea party group targeted by the IRS, TheTeaParty.net this week. The group’s chief strategist said “we need Sen. McConnell more than ever” and praised him for “sounding the alarm about the government’s assault on our First Amendment rights years ago.”  

Watch his most recent MTP appearance and look at 7 thinks to know about Mitch McConnell  

Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense

  • Donald Rumsfeld was the 13th and 21st U.S. Secretary of Defense, former member of Congress, U.S. Ambassador, and White House Chief of Staff.
  • This week Rumsfeld spoke-out about the September attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, saying “if you’re going to put people at risk, you have to try and protect them.”
  • Rumsfeld also criticized President Obama and other surrogates for calling that the Benghazi attack a “spontaneous demonstration, because of YouTube.” He suggested that motive was promoted for several days following the attack because “it fit their hopes and what they wanted to see be the case.”       
  • On Tuesday, Rumsfeld released his second book “Rumsfeld’s Rules: Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life.”


Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee

  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He led Friday’s hearing on the IRS’s “targeting” of conservative groups and criticized the agency for the “blatant disregard with which the agency has treated Congress and the American taxpayer.”
  • Ahead of Friday’s hearing, Rep. Camp said there seemed to be political motives behind the IRS leaking confidential information because “only one political perspective was targeted.”

The Roundtable: Becerra, Woodward, and Noonan

  • Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) serves as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and is the first Latino to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. He is also part of a bipartisan group in the House working on immigration reform. The Heritage Foundation released a report last week that was critical of immigration reform for what it says will “pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers.” Rep. Becerra said the report “is full of holes and won’t sink the reform push this year.” Watch his most recent MTP appearance.
  • Bob Woodward is an author, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and associate editor of the Washington Post. On Friday he called the IRS scandal a “big mess” but said that it had “not yet” reached the level of the Watergate scandal, which he uncovered in 1972. Woodward said Benghazi is still a “very serious issue” and one that shows why he believes the federal government should “get rid of talking points” and instead put out “statements or papers that are truth documents.” Watch his most recent MTP appearance.
  • Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan wrote this week that “we are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate.” She said it would be wrong for any Republican to turn this scandal “into a mere partisan arguing point” because “this is about the integrity of our system of government and our ability to trust.” Noonan is also the author of seven books on American politics, history and culture. Watch her latest MTP appearance.

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