White House fires back on Sarah Palin's Secret Service criticism

Sarah Palin's charge that the Secret Service prostitute scandal highlighted President Barack Obama's "poor management skills" drew a sharp rebuke Friday from the White House, where chief spokesman Jay Carney dubbed it absurd and politically motivated.

"It is preposterous to politicize the Secret Service," Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.

Palin and Republican Senator Jeff Sessions have in recent days charged that the scandal, coupled to the outrage over the General Services Administration's lavish spending on a convention in Las Vegas, reflect poorly on Obama. Those two controversies, as well as the tragic mass slaying of Afghan civilians, allegedly by an American soldier, have overshadowed much of the White House's agenda in recent weeks.

"What they're doing is trying to turn these incidents — one that's still under investigation — to political advantage," Carney charged when asked about critics who lump the three issues together. "On the face of it, it's a ridiculous assertion that trivializes both the very serious nature of the endeavor that our military is engaged in in Afghanistan and the very serious nature both of the work that the Secret Service does, the apolitical nature of the institution, and the seriousness of the investigation under way," the spokesman said.

Palin weighed in on the scandal on Fox News Channel late Thursday after The Washington Post reported that David Chaney, one of two agents removed as a result, reportedly posted a photograph of himself guarding the former Republican vice presidential candidate during the 2008 campaign and captioned it "I was really checking her out, if you know what i mean?"

"Well, check this out, bodyguard. You're fired," Palin quipped.

"You know, the president, for one, he better be wary there of -- when Secret Service is accompanying his family on vacation. They may be checking out the first lady instead of guarding her. And I say that not just tongue in cheek, but I say that seriously, that the president, the CEO of this operation called our federal government has got to start cracking down on these agencies! He is the head of the administrative branch and all these different departments in the administration that now people are seeing things that are so amiss within these departments."

"The buck stops with the president. And he's really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. You know, he's got to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies where so many things, obviously, are amiss," she said. "Our president has poor management skills."

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