Caution and Bombast: Two GOP Responses to Scandal

PHOTO: President Barack Obama rubs his face as Myanmars President Thein Sein speaks during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 20, 2013.
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Things could hardly have broken better for Republicans these last few weeks -- a trio of scandals, all combining to embarrass the Obama administration at the same time.

But now, a growing number of Republicans are worried their party will screw it up. For every cry of "impeachment," there's a louder cry from the GOP establishment not to get too far ahead of themselves, at least not yet.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says he's not worried about a "political strategy," instead he's "concerned with" the same thing "the American people are concerned with," which is "just getting to the truth."

RELATED: Public Sharply Critical on IRS, Benghazi

"It's really important to focus on connecting the dots and finding the evidence and making sure each fact speaks for themselves," Priebus said in an interview with ABC News. "There are so many unanswered questions in these cases that ultimately we will get to the truth. I have a pretty good feeling the truth will not be good for Barack Obama."

While Priebus and others like him are stressing investigations over the politics of scandal, he of course acknowledges the obvious ... cautiously:

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it won't play well for Democrats and the president, but I don't think it's the focus right now," Priebus said. "This is not a political issue. This is really a hunt for the truth."

Other Republicans are more willing to point out that going too far can hurt the GOP and their hopes of a successful 2014 midterm cycle or even a 2016 presidential campaign. Republican consultant Brian Donahue says being cautious is important, but so is making sure the scandals don't fade away.

"The one thing that Republicans are lacking is discipline and what I've advised many of my clients is to let the facts speak for themselves, but I've also said to make sure we are talking about these issues," said Donahue, a partner at GOP communications firm Craft Media Digital. "The moment that we take a bombastic approach we lose our audience, we lose influencers, we lose voters in America, but we should remain disciplined in talking about these issues. They are important issues."

Donahue admits he's concerned about Republican overreach and missing a political opportunity because other Republicans aren't afraid to push the envelope, especially discussing impeachment or comparing the scandals to Watergate.

"In politics, often people suffer from overplaying a situation, which audiences find too over the top and unbelievable," Donahue said. "In the instances of the scandals that are unraveling, it is important for the facts to speak for themselves. In the case of the IRS and Benghazi the facts are pretty damaging and just by presenting the facts as is, I believe this administration will have to answer a lot of very important questions, but if opportunists attempt to over play these (scandals) and attempt to paint the picture of Watergate and ... something beyond what's existing, then people might find these to be silly political attacks."

There have been comparisons to Watergate, even calls for impeachment, exactly what Donahue and others are cautioning against.

In an interview with National Review published Monday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said the impeachment of the president is a "possibility."

"This is an administration embroiled in a scandal that they created," Chaffetz said. "It's a cover-up. I'm not saying impeachment is the end game, but it's a possibility, especially if they keep doing little to help us learn more."

He first mentioned impeachment last week, when he said on CNN: "It's not the endgame. It's not what we're playing for. I was simply asked: 'is that within the realm of possibilities?' And I would say 'yes.' I'm not willing to take that off the table."

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., made a similar remark last week.

"As I have been home in my district, in the sixth district of Minnesota, there isn't a weekend that hasn't gone by that someone says to me, 'Michelle, what in the world are you all waiting for in Congress? Why aren't you impeaching the president? He's been making unconstitutional actions since he came into office,'" Bachmann said at a tea party rally last week.

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