Obama faces tough questions on Benghazi, IRS (VIDEO)


US President Barack Obama speaks on at the National Anthropology Museum on May 3 in Mexico City.


Mandel Ngan

US President Barack Obama took on two main talking points in Washington Monday – his administration's response to the Benghazi attack last fall and the reported politicization of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – alongside a confused British premier. 

Obama had a lot to say to reporters when he was asked about the Benghazi attack in Libya on September 11, 2012, that took the lives of four Americans, and the allegations that the Internal Revenue Service had been targeting conservative groups. 

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Republican lawmakers have held numerous hearings over the government's response to the September attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to Libya, most recently raising questions about the Obama administration's portrayal of the attack. 

The US leader dismissed the controversy as a political "side show" and said it was disrespectful of US service members overseas to "turn things like this into a political circus," reported CNN.

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"The whole thing defies logic, and the fact that this keeps getting churned out, frankly has a lot to do with political motivations," he added.

Obama also defended his response at the time of the attack, saying: "The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism." Watch his full remarks on it here: 

Obama took Republicans' concerns over the IRS more seriously, however. He said he didn't know that conservative groups were being targeted by the tax agency until the news broke, promising to find out "exactly what happened," according to CBS.

The US leader was referring to last week's report from an IRS government watchdog, which claimed the right-of-center tea party and other conservative political groups were put under greater scrutiny than other organizations.  

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"The IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they're... applying the laws in a non-partisan way," Obama told journalists. "If you've got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way then that is outrageous ... People have to be held accountable and it's got to be fixed."

Also Monday, the IRS said Commissioner Steven T. Miller was first told about the issue in May 2012 but did not mention it in reports to concerned lawmakers, according to the Associated Press

Watch Obama on the issue here: