This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There are three simultaneous controversies rattling the Obama administration this week: the IRS, the phone records of the AP reporters, and Benghazi. NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro joins us. Ari, thanks for being with us.
President Obama's first term was free from the kind of scandal that consumes every ounce of political oxygen in Washington. Now, in light of a trio of controversies, his supporters find themselves in the uncomfortable and unaccustomed position of having to defend some hard-to-defend events.
Democrats have offered up a range of responses. They view the issues — Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department snooping on The Associated Press — as separate issues that shouldn't be lumped together.
Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was front-and-center during the Republican-led impeachment of President Clinton in 1998, is cautioning his GOP colleagues about the risk of appearing to be too eager as they dig into the scandals now dogging the Obama administration.