Friday, June 22, 2012

Try Not To Think Of A Fishing Expedition

In Jay Carney's press briefing yesterday, he claimed that Republican attempts to get Attorney General Eric Holder to turn over all documents related to Fast and Furious was a "fishing expedition".

Five times:

1: "Republicans are focused on this politically motivated, taxpayer-funded, election-year fishing expedition."

2: "its efforts to work with Congress to provide it the information that was required under legitimate oversight needs, an assertion was made -- because this has become a political fishing expedition."

3: "They do not expect Congress to waste time on politically motivated fishing expeditions, which this has clearly become."

4: "I cannot divine the motivations behind what I think I've clearly suggested is something we believe has become a fishing expedition that’s unnecessary and unworthy of Congress at this time"

5: "I would refer you to my comments about partisan fishing expeditions and political theater, and one of the causes and consequences of the Congress with the lowest recorded approval ratings in history."

A day before, after the House Oversight Committee voted Attorney General Holder to be in contempt, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer responded:

"Instead of creating jobs or strengthening the middle class, congressional Republicans are spending their time on a politically motivated, taxpayer-funded election-year fishing expedition."

Good to see Pfeiffer and Carney have coordinated the talking point down to the exact wording. And it is evident that the White House has settled in on the catchphrase they want to use to characterize the efforts of the Republicans. So, step one is decide on a catchphrase, and begin using it prolifically.

What's step two? Step two is get the media on board.

Enter Washington Post's Eugene Robinson:

The House wants to go fishing in a vast sea of documents, some of which relate to ongoing investigations. As a believer in sunshine and disclosure, I don’t much care for questionable claims of executive privilege. But I like the politically motivated sideshow the GOP is staging even less.

Eugene Robinson, an extension of the public relations function of the White House, obligingly carries the water.

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