Jay Carney declined to engage today with Rep. Darrell Issa’s claim that the White House press secretary is a “paid liar.”
“I hadn’t heard that, that’s amazing,” Carney said, sarcastically, before continuing on in response to a question during his daily briefing. “I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth with Chairman Issa.”
Appearing Sunday on CNN, theHouse Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman said Carney had lied in claiming that the IRS’s heightened scrutiny of conservative groups came from Cincinnati, and not from Washington. “The administration is still, their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind, he’s still making up things about what happened and calling this local rogue,” Issa said, referring to a photo of Carney on set.
Earlier Monday, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called on Issa to apologize to Carney, but Carney again said he wouldn’t get into the back-and-forth and that, like the president, his focus is on understanding and fixing what went wrong at the IRS.
Carney did, though, address Issa’s specific claim, saying that when he’s spoken about the IRS issue, his comments have referred to the findings of the Treasury Department’s inspector general “who, let’s be clear, said that he, both in testimony and in his report, found no evidence that outsiders — those outside the IRS influenced the behavior that took place there. That is the conclusion of the independent inspector general, and we certainly have seen no other evidence to contradict that.”
Later on, Carney declined to say whether he had spoken to President Obama about Issa’s comments.