White House denies Fast and Furious ‘cover up', Obama has ‘full confidence' in Holder

But Republicans have accused Holder of misleading them on what he knew about the operation and when. The Justice Department has already had to retract some misleading information it provided to Congress about Fast and Furious. But the attorney general has blamed Republicans for playing politics by rejecting his offers to make available some of the requested materials. And Obama has rejected Republican calls to dismiss Holder.

Carney worked hard Thursday to distance the White House from Fast and Furious. On five occasions, he noted that the operation had begun in the "field," not Washington. He also insisted that the "tactic" known as gun-walking had originated under President George W. Bush (the operation itself began in late 2009, under Obama).

"The problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the previous administration, and it was this administration's Attorney General who ended it," Carney said at one point.

The spokesman said Americans hoped for action from lawmakers to help create jobs. "They do not expect Congress to waste time on politically motivated fishing expeditions, which this has clearly become," he said.

Carney also noted that the Department of Justice's Inspector General was conducting an independent investigation into Fast and Furious.

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