With his recent road show to trumpet his economic plans, President Obama has developed a favorite phrase for diagnosing what ails Washington: “phony scandals.”

Those “phony scandals” encompass a series of issues the White House is trying to defang, including the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, the delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate, the Justice Department snooping on reporters and the administration’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Obama surrogates characterized initial questions about the controversies as legitimate, but said they have since been hijacked by Republican leaders sensing political blood in the water ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.

“It’s been talked about by some of the leadership up on the Hill in the House as part of a political strategy for the fall, and all of these allegations — especially on the IRS — about White House involvement … all of these things have not been as such,” Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Wednesday at a breakfast organized by The Christian Science Monitor.

Pfeiffer said the GOP narrative was undercut by revelations that the IRS targeted some progressive groups, even though liberal organizations did not face the same level of scrutiny as those aligned with the Tea Party or other conservative causes.

The one issue raised during the rough political patch for Obama that the White House agrees deserves a closer look is the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance of Americans’ phone and email records.

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