News Analysis: White House Plays Defense Amid Growing Controversies

The White House has its back against the wall amid myriad scandals, forcing the administration to go on the defensive, U.S. experts say.

The controversies are numerous, ranging from last year's snooping by the Justice Department on journalists to the powerful Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting conservative groups. The White House's perceived obfuscation after the terror attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has also drawn controversy.

In recent weeks, the Veterans Affairs department has come under fire amid accusations that 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment at hospitals administered by the department.

That has left the White House reeling, scrambling to control the damage as it goes into defense mode.

When news of the veterans scandal broke last week, U.S. President Barack Obama held a quickly arranged press briefing to address the issue, telling reporters "people will be held accountable."

But the statements have not held back the tide of criticism, and analysts say the White House needs to re-assess its media strategy and work overtime to get its message out.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said the White House's strategy would be to try to change the subject.

"We're seeing this with the foreign policy speech (Obama) is delivering on Wednesday. He's mired below the 40 percent mark. And when your approval rating is that low, you're going to do anything you can to try to change the subject or at least shift the spotlight on to the Republicans," O'Connell told Xinhua.

He said the typical way the White House handled scandals was to first declare outrage, then call for a study into the issue and six months later either declare the problem solved or blame the Republicans.

The myriad scandals have caused those Democrats in Congress who are facing re-election this year to distance themselves from the White House.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at GlobalPost

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment


Analysis & Political Strategy