That is the question of the day, it seems. I can actually understand people who don't like the guy not believing that the White House counsel knew about the IRS inspector general probe, and even the President's chief of staff, but not the President.
However, as a few former chiefs of staff said in this morning's Wall Street Journal report (admittedly all of them Democrats), this is exactly the kind of thing you don't tell the boss. From the article:
Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel under former President Bill Clinton, said Ms. Ruemmler's office acted correctly in not sharing the information directly with the president.
If she had instead gotten "involved and called people over to the White House for a full briefing to know all the details, you know what we'd be talking about now? We'd be talking about whether she had tried to interfere with the IG's investigation," Mr. Quinn said.
John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff under Mr. Clinton, said: "The worst thing is if you do anything that is perceived to be interfering with an independent investigation" especially if it isn't fully complete. "That gets you in such trouble your head spins."
Then there is the fact that Obama said at that initial press conference that he learned about the IRS problem when everyone did, in the papers. Now: Putting aside whether you have any faith or trust in the man, ask yourself why a president would say that if it wasn't true.
I can't imagine that George Bush would ever tell such a lie. He was not, as you know, my favorite president. But I can't picture Bush or Obama telling such a lie for pure self-preservation reasons. It would be so easily disprovable, and would carry such obvious and severe consequences, that even a person prone to lying would be really hesitant to tell this particular lie.
Bill Clinton told a big lie, but that was about sex and was really embarrassing. If he'd admitted the relationship that day, his presidency would have ended in 24 hours. I'm not exactly defending it. Just saying sex is different. And Nixon told a big lie, but Nixon was Nixon, and no, Obama isn't Nixon, and Bush wasn't either for that matter.