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May 14th, 2013
11:25 PM ET

Lanny Davis on the White House's handling the IRS scandal: "The president should be on camera, in person expressing outrage, calling for an investigation"

On the heels of a report exposing inappropriate techniques used by the IRS — which resulted in the service targeting the Tea Party and other conservative groups — on Tuesday evening "Piers Morgan Live" invited Lanny Davis to share his professional expertise.

Joining Piers Morgan on "The Grill," the crisis manager and spin doctor gave the White House a B+ grade for the way in which the scandal has been handled. However, the man who once served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton called for a more specific response from Barack Obama:

"The president should be on camera, in person, expressing outrage, calling for an investigation of his own White House to get out in front of what the Republicans are clearly going to do. Being out in front meaning preempt what you know is coming. Also I think a bipartisan committee of Congress should be organized to investigate everyone who might have touched this.

"If this were a Republican president," Davis continued. "Democrats would be shouting for that kind of investigation. I'm hoping that the president will follow the crisis management rule to preempt and show more anger and passion rather than a very legalistic statement."

Regardless of any role the administration had in the IRS' actions, Davis noted that convincing the country the White House's hands are clean may prove to be a difficult challenge:

"The public presumes that the White House must have known. The Watergate scandal led to a law that prohibits the White House from communicating with the IRS on any topic such as political targeting. So it's possible. But what's lacking here is a preemptive mode. I don't see the president calling for a Congressional investigation, a White House investigation, where everyone in the White House is asked, e-mails are looked at, 'did you communicate with anyone regarding this matter, even indirectly,' and it certainly is a presumption that they have to overcome, but of course, I believe them if they say there is no such contact. But they've got to prove it and by proving it, I mean transparency."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Davis offers further insight into the ways in which he'd advise Barack Obama to handle one of the several negative situations he's currently facing.
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