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Michael Barone - Benghazi & IRS scandal: something in common

What do the Benghazi cover-up and the IRS scandal have in common? They were both about winning elections, under false pretenses.
Winning elections, after all, is something Barack Obama is good at. He obviously loves campaigning and delivering grand orations to enormous adoring crowds. He loves it so much that he flew off to Las Vegas to campaign the day after the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years.
What actually happened in Benghazi was out of sync with the Obama campaign line. Osama bin Laden was dead. Al-Qaida was on the run. The global war on terror — well, don't call it that anymore. A deliberate effort to mislead the voters was launched. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, White House press secretary Jay Carney and the president himself talked about a spontaneous protest of an anti-Muslim video — even though no evidence of that came from Benghazi.
The White House and the State Department altered the CIA's talking points — not just in one minor particular, as Carney claimed, but through 12 separate versions. The Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, armed with the talking points, spoke sternly about a spontaneous protest and an anti-Muslim video on five Sunday interview shows.
The campaign trail press grilled Mitt Romney for his (impolitic) statement immediately after the attacks. Obama went on talk shows and peddled his line about an anti-Muslim video.
Debate moderator Candy Crowley came to Obama's defense when he claimed that he had immediately stated that Benghazi was a terrorist attack — a claim Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has awarded four Pinocchios. Mitt Romney, perhaps worried that Team Obama might wheel out the-then-publicly-silent CIA Director David Petraeus in its defense, didn't press the point.
This attempt to mislead the electorate worked. It seems a stretch to say that it determined the outcome of the election. But it certainly helped the Obama campaign.
And what about the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) groups? Starting in March 2010, it questioned the tax-free status of one group after another with "tea party" or "patriot" in their names. That's reminiscent of the Department of Homeland Security memo warning of the potential of such groups to engage in terrorist-type violence — which of course hasn't happened.
An IRS official acknowledged and apologized for this misuse of government power last Friday. She attributed it to low-level IRS employees in Cincinnati. She said she had been informed about it in May 2011. Later news came out that tea party groups received letters of inquiry from Washington and IRS offices in California, as well.
The IRS pressed some groups for very detailed information. Has a family member been a member of another organization or planned to run for political office?
The targeting continued into 2012, when the criteria were changed to "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement." We can't have people educating people about the Constitution, can we?
The acting IRS director, who assured Congress that no group was targeted because of its beliefs, was informed of the targeting of conservative groups in May 2012. Jay Carney has said that the White House had no knowledge of it until a few weeks ago. Maybe. We'll see.
Top Obama political aide David Plouffe told National Journal's Ron Fournier that the IRS misdeeds did not really matter because Obama opponents were able to spend plenty of money. But they would have been able to spend more absent the IRS misconduct. Some tea partiers decided to fold up shop rather than face an extended IRS inquiry. Others ran up big legal bills.
The fact is that the targeting of tea party groups by the IRS helped Democrats win elections. It's hard not to believe that at least some IRS employees intended it to have that effect. Those who leaked confidential information certainly did so.
The president has denounced the IRS misconduct in strong terms "if" it happened. He acknowledged that any targeting of one point of view by a government agency is wrong. But in 2009 at Arizona State University's commencement, he noted that he had not been given an honorary degree and added that the school's president and board of regents "will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS."
That doesn't sound so funny now.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Genevieve F. Basiliere, 90

TILTON — Genevieve F. (Deveau) Basiliere, 90, a permanent resident of Tilton since 1991, died Thursday, May 16, 2013, following a period of failing health. She was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, September 1, 1922, daughter of Henry and Beatrice (Comeau) Deveau. Genevieve and her husband summered in Tilton since 1969, moving permanently to Tilton from Saugus, MA in 1991. Over the years she worked at NECCO Confectionary Co, American Optical and General Electric in the aircraft department, all in Massachusetts. In later years, as a stay at home mom, she continued her employment from home until her retirement, following 30 years with William S. Haynes Company in Boston (manufacturers of flutes and piccolos). She was a parishioner of St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Tilton.
Genevieve was predeceased by siblings, Lewis Deveau and Barbara Exel.
Her family includes her husband of 66 years, Clarence "Buzz" L. Basiliere of Tilton; her son, John H. Basiliere and his wife Patricia of Tilton; sisters, Dorothy Fitzgibbons of Tilton and Virginia Arnault of Montverde, FL; nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held Sunday, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at the William F. Smart Sr. Memorial Home, Franklin-Tilton Road in Tilton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, May 20th at 10:00 AM at St. Joseph Church in Belmont. Burial will follow at St. John Cemetery in Tilton.
Those wishing may make memorial contributions in Genevieve's name to the Franklin VNA and Hospice, 75 Chestnut Street, Franklin, NH 03235.
For more information go to www.smartfuneralhome.com

Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 10:18

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Stanley W. Whitney, Sr.

GILFORD — Stanley W. Whitney, Sr., 81, of Bear Creek, Ormond Beach, Florida and formerly of Laconia, NH died November 30,2012. He was born in Concord, NH on April 11, 1931 to the late Mr. Elverton Wheeler Whitney and Mrs. Madelene Laura (Palmer) Whitney. Stan was married for 48 years to his late wife, Mrs. Justine M. (DeYoung) Whitney. He was a member of the Gilford Community Church.
Thre will be a graveside burial at Pine Grove Cemetery in Gilford, NH on Friday, May 31 at 11 a.m.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 11:28

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George H. Moore, 80

NORTH BROOKFIELD, Mass. — George H. Moore, 80, of North Brookfield, MA passed away on May 10, 2013 at Worcester, MA Hospital.
George, the son of Fred and Beatrice Moore, grew up in a "Little Canada" a section of Lakeport. He played some football at Laconia High School and spent his summers in Massachussetts at his grandparents home. George joined the U.S. Marines and served four years.
Survivors include his wife Lousie of 60 years; three children, Sherrie, Mike and Glen Moore; and three grandchildren all living in North Brookfield MA. He also leaves his brother Charles Moore and his wife Brenda of New Hampton; and his sister Carol L. Welch and husband Bob of Gilmanton Iron Works.
Family services at a later date. No calling hours.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:21

Hits: 352

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