Over the past week, President Obama has seemingly turned the attention away from three major scandals that threatened to derail his policy goals. The IRS scandal is shrinking, Benghazi is going away (again), and the Department of Justice wiretapping has not produced anything new. This was helped by the Senate, which moved comprehensive immigration reform out of committee, and the President himself, who made headlines with a salute gaffe and a terrorism speech.
This week, the House of Representatives began hearings into the Internal Revenue Service’s seemingly intentional conservative targeting. The only major headline out of the hearing regarded Lois Lerner, who testified before the committee. Lois Lerner, who has headed the tax-exempt division at the IRS since 2006, testified about the situation. She began with an opening statement. She then announced she would not answer questions, using her Fifth Amendment right of no self-incrimination. House Government Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa has gotten angry at how Lerner used her right, saying she waived her rights by giving a statement. Since then, the IRS has suspended her, but with pay and benefits.
This week, there were no major headlines coming out regarding Benghazi, which has moved the attack out of the view of the twenty-four hour news cycle.
Department of Justice
The biggest headline this week was that Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on the search warrant to seize Fox News correspondent James Rosen. This caused quite an outrage, especially on the right, that said the President’s closest Cabinet appointee was infringing on constitutional freedoms. However, it was revealed this morning, that Fox News’s parent, News Corporation, knew about the search warrant three years ago, but did not tell President Obama.
This week, President Obama made headlines with a major national security speech. Among the topics he discussed were the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison and the ending of the War on Terror. During his speech, Medea Benjamin, founder of the grassroots group Code Pink, snuck in as a journalist and began heckling President Obama’s speech. She said he could close Guantanamo immediately. Also, President Obama created headlines when he forgot to salute a Marine when boarding Marine One, the presidential helicopter. Presidents do not have to salute the Marine, but it has become a tradition for a few decades. President Obama realized his mistake, and went back and shook the hand of the Marine and spoke with him.