The Obama Watch

Holding AWOL Obama Accountable

Where was he the night of the Benghazi attacks?

By 5.23.13

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President Obama offers only weasel words to explain deaths in Libya and IRS abuses. He's the master of verbal evasion. House Republicans need to replace debate with action to hold the president accountable on these issues.

To get to the bottom of why four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, House Republicans should issue a formal resolution demanding to know where the president was on the night September 11 and what role he played. Obama needs to be put on the hot seat.

Benghazi
For eight months, the White House has maneuvered to prevent the truth from emerging on why four Americans were left to be slaughtered. President Obama calls the ongoing controversy over talking points used by Ambassador Susan Rice a “sideshow.” In fact, they are less important than what the president refuses to address — why no rescue attempt was made. At a May 11 press conference, he said, “I’ve been very clear about taking responsibility for the fact that we were not able to prevent their deaths.” Not able? Where were you, Mr. President, and who decided not to attempt a rescue?

We the people have a right to know. The House should underscore the importance of knowing by passing a resolution. Resolutions don’t have the force of law. But historically they have been used to elevate important concerns such as disapproving President George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq.

Therefore, the House of Representatives should introduce the following:

Resolved: “Because four Americans were butchered at the consulate on September 11, 2012, and no U.S. armed forces were sent to attempt a rescue, the House of Representatives calls on the president to answer where he was on the night of the attack, and what part he played in telling forces to stand down.”

On Fox News Sunday, May 19, White House spokesperson Dan Pfeiffer wriggled to avoid answering these questions. Despite pressure from host Chris Wallace, Pfeiffer dismissed concern over the president's whereabouts “irrelevant,” and told Wallace to forget the past. A House resolution may force the president to give us a straight answer.

IRS Abuses
The president also has resorted to slippery responses about the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. At a May 16 press conference, the president sidestepped a question about whether anyone in the White House knew about the IRS’s harassment. He also failed to mention his political alliance with the National Treasury Employees Union, to which IRS employees belong. The union’s PAC gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2010 and 2012 to anti-Tea Party groups, and the union president is a frequent visitor at the White House.

The day before, on May 15, the president touted the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. Again, Obama was the master of omission. He never mentioned the woman who actually presided over much of the IRS misconduct, Sarah Hall Ingram, was awarded bonuses and promoted to running Obamacare enforcement at the IRS. She will be in charge of ensuring that you have the government-mandated health insurance or pay a penalty. When filing taxes, you will have to submit proof of coverage to the IRS, including your carrier and policy number.

An IRS that abuses political freedom cannot be trusted to respect your medical privacy. Steven Miller, testifying before Congress on May 17, was less than forthcoming about IRS employees seeing medical records. He claimed it won't happen. But in truth, the IRS is currently being sued because its agents misused a search warrant for financial data from a health insurance company to also seize unrelated medical records of 10 million people.

The public has seen enough of the IRS's thuggish, lawless practices. The House of Representatives needs to introduce legislation to strip the Obama health law of its reliance on IRS enforcement. Democrats will have a hard time voting against it.

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About the Author
Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant Governor of New York, is author of Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.