Last week was, perhaps, the toughest week the Obama administration has yet faced. While congressional Republicans were still trying to turn the Benghazi attacks into a full-fledged scandal, two clearly real scandals have appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the past two weeks. One involves the IRS targeting the large influx of tax-exempt Tea Party-related groups for extra scrutiny. The other scandal involves the U.S. Justice Department seizure of Associated Press journalists’ telephone records in secret subpoenas.
It seems, however, that none of the negative press has affected President Obama’s approval ratings. According to a CNN/ORC poll released this weekend, the President still enjoys a 53% approval rating.
This is despite the fact that those polled knew about the recent scandals and even considered them important. 71% of those polled considered the IRS’s actions unacceptable, while 52% thought the Justice Department’s phone record seizures were unacceptable. Over 60% of these same respondents believe that President Obama’s statements about the IRS scandal have been at least mostly true.
Presidential spokespersons have been aggressively combating efforts to link Obama directly to the IRS scandal. White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer this Sunday hit the talk show circuit, stating that the President did not know of the policy before it hit the media.
The President himself did not address the topics this weekend. Instead, the President used his weekly address to speak about building up the middle class in the U.S.: