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Obama agenda: Rule of threes

AP: “The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a ‘massive and unprecedented intrusion’ into how news organizations gather the news. The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.”

USA Today: “They say these things come in threes. Already facing criticism over the Benghazi attack and Internal Revenue Service problems, President Obama and aides must now deal with news that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of journalists who work for the Associated Press.”

“Journalists on Monday called the news the Justice Department seized records from phone lines assigned to Associated Press offices and its reporters over a two month period ‘chilling’ and a ‘dragnet to intimidate the media,’ Politico writes.

By the way, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

“President Barack Obama tried to swat down a pair of brewing controversies Monday, denouncing as ‘outrageous’ the targeting of conservative political groups by the federal IRS but angrily denying any administration cover-up after last year’s deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya,” AP writes. “Simultaneous investigations — and demands by Republicans for more — have put the White House on the defensive, emboldened GOP lawmakers and threatened to overtake a second-term Obama agenda already off to a rocky start.”

“Huddling with A-list celebrities and top re-election donors, President Barack Obama bemoaned the partisan forces that have stymied compromise in Washington as he raised campaign cash for Democrats in New York,” AP writes. Of the GOP “fever,” Obama said at film producer Harvey Weinstein’s house, “It’s not quite broken yet. I am persistent, and I am staying at it.

And Obama said this: "I want to get some stuff done -- I don't have a lot of time. I've got three and a half years left -- and it goes by like that."

Jill Lawrence: “The bombshell disclosure that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors could be dramatic enough to move even the phlegmatic Obama administration to action. Three concurrent scandals or controversies are just too many. Could that mean we will be bidding farewell soon to Attorney General Eric Holder?”

George Condon notes that Obama appears more outraged with Republicans than the IRS.

On Benghazi, so why wasn’t it Hillary Clinton on the Sunday shows instead of Susan Rice. Glenn Thrush reports: “Three sources” say “it was less a matter of fatigue, and more a matter of Clinton not wanting to go on the shows. The aides said Clinton had a ‘default’ policy of rejecting all Sunday requests. None of the officials was willing to speculate on why the secretary wouldn’t make an exception after such an extraordinary event — or whether Clinton had wanted to avoid a controversy that could have compromised her political future.”

Vice President Joe Biden wrote a 7-year-old Wisconsin child a hand-written note praising his idea for guns that shoot chocolate. Biden writes, “Dear Myles, I am sorry it took so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate. You are a good boy, Joe Biden.”

Donald Rumsfeld’s back on the scene appearing mellower as he promotes his new book. He was on Today Tuesday morning.