Nightly News   |  May 18, 2013

IRS scandal could be most damaging

CNBC’s John Harwood has more on the challenges facing the Obama administration.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> harwood. clearly, these are all controversies kind of looked at as one thing, but which in your mind leads the standard of scandal?

>> they're very different. the phone records case is a legal and law enforcement controversy over a policy judgment, may turn out to be a bad judgment. people in our business don't like it, but there's no evidence the american people are going to be that upset about it just as they weren't upset with some of the gre tactics the bush administration used in the war on terror . benghazi was a terrible security failure, but we knew that on day one and the more we learn about the aftermath, the less it looks like a scandal and more it looks like typical bureaucratic and public relations end fighting. the irs scandal is different. there's clear misconduct there. if it's tied to partisanship, that's a significant problem. if it's tied to the president, that is a major scandal for the administration. but even though many republicans assume and believe that those things are true, there's no evidence of it yet, lester.

>> thanks for your insight. appreciate it.