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GOP tries to play offense on 'transparency' against Obama

 

House Republicans debuted a new line of attack against Democrats on Wednesday, calling the GOP the party of "accountability and trust in government" in the wake of several recent controversies involving the Obama administration.

Armed with new uproars involving the IRS's admission that it had targeted conservative advocacy groups, the release of more emails involving the administration's response to last year's terrorist attack in Benghazi and the Justice Department's having monitored the phone record of AP journalists, the House GOP leadership said that they would emphasize transparency in the coming weeks, and hope to make it a central issue in the 2014 midterm elections.

"The public is beginning to raise questions in their mind as to is this government accountable? We are going to work here in the House to restore the trust in government," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Wash., added: "What the American people expect from their government is accountability."

The new line of attack comes amid a terrible, five-day stretch for the White House. Republican aides told NBC News that the trifecta of controversies had breathed new life into the GOP conference, which recently had been riven my internal disagreements, especially as most legislative action plays out in the Democratic-held Senate.

Democrats, of course, took issue with Republicans' efforts to seize the mantle of transparency.

"Members of both parties want to exercise the appropriate oversight role of Congress into these matters, but the idea that this Republican leadership has been interested in doing anything to the federal government other than destroying it, would be a thorough rewrite of the last two years," said Drew Hammil, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Republicans would have another opportunity to drive their new message on Wednesday afternoon, when Attorney General Eric Holder appears for a House committee for a general oversight hearing. There, he'll he’ll be peppered with questions about why the Justice Department went after reporter’s phone records. And next Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the political targeting by the IRS. Aides say also to expect more hearings related to Benghazi throughout the year.

For his part, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stressed the party would still push the economy as an issue but would also uphold their “responsibility under the Constitution to provide oversight over the Executive Branch."