Carney responds to Issa’s ‘paid liar’ accusation with a joke

White House spokesman Jay Carney responded to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's description of him as a "paid liar" Monday with a joke.

On Sunday, Issa (R-Calif.) made the accusation during an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” as he discussed the Internal Revenue Service’s subjecting conservative groups to heightened scrutiny.

“The administration is still, their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind, he’s still making up things about what happened and calling this local rogue,” Issa said.

When asked about Issa's comment Monday during his daily briefing, Carney responded, "I hadn't heard that. That's amazing." The commented prompted laughter from the press corps.

"I'm not going to get into a back-and-forth with Chairman Issa," he added. "I think that what our focus is and has been is the need to find out all the inappropriate activity that occurred, make sure, as the president insists, that those who are responsible for inappropriate, outrageous activity be held accountable, that processes are put into place at the IRS so that something like this cannot happen again."

While Carney may not want to get into a fight with Issa, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) came to the press secretary's defense during an interview with "Kilmeade and Friends" on Fox News Radio. Even as he praised Issa for his IRS probe, he warned "you can go too far" with name calling.

"Let's not make it personal. Jay Carney is not the issue here. He's the spokesman for the White House," Graham said.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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Aaron Blake · June 3, 2013