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White House Dismisses Eric Holder Contempt Vote as Distraction

With House Republicans set to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking investigation, the White House dismissed the action as a political distraction from the struggling economy.

“With millions of Americans still struggling to pay the bills, Republicans announced at the beginning of this year that one of their top priorities was to investigate the administration and damage the president politically,” White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Pfeiffer’s statement came after a dramatic escalation in the dispute over Department of Justice documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform panel. Moments before the panel was set to begin its consideration of a report on whether to hold Holder in contempt, the DOJ announced that the White House had asserted executive privilege over those documents.

“We are 10 days away from the expiration of federal transportation funding which guarantees jobs for almost a million construction workers because Congress hasn’t passed a transportation bill. We are 11 days away from nearly seven and a half million students seeing their loan rates double because Congress hasn’t acted to stop it. But instead of creating jobs or strengthening the middle-class, Congressional Republicans are spending their time on a politically-motivated, taxpayer-funded election-year fishing expedition,” Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer dismissed the Fast and Furious fiasco as “a field-driven tactic that dated back to the previous administration” and credited Holder with ending it.

Pfeiffer did not mention the border security agent who was killed with one of the weapons bought under Fast and Furious, nor the administration’s erroneous testimony last year about the program. Nor has the White House fully explained why then-Sen. Barack Obama slammed President George W. Bush for using executive privilege to keep things from Congress, but is now doing so himself.

The campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney also jumped into the fray today.

“President Obama’s pledge to run the most open and transparent administration in history has turned out to be just another broken promise,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

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