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TODAY   |  May 17, 2013

Obama in damage control mode over recent scandals

The president spoke out during a press conference on Thursday addressing the recent IRS, Benghazi, and journalist phone record scandals that have upset his second term agenda as aides say he is confident he can bounce back. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> house. nbc's chuck todd is there, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. it's still damage control for the white house but they're trying to stay in front of these three controversies that have basically hit the pause button on the president's agenda. aides say the president is keeping things in perspective and believe this is just a blip, he'll bounce back. just how rough has this week been for the president? consider this question from a reporter thursday.

>> how do you feel about comparisons by some of your critics of this week's scandals to those that happened under the nixon administration ?

>> well, yeah, i'll let you guys engage in those comparisons.

>> reporter: nixon comparisons aside during a rainy news conference mr. obama promised to clean up the irs following its targeting of conservative groups and the irs announced the retirement of the official who oversaw the division responsible for that targeting and the white house announced a new acting commission commissioner, daniel wuerfel.

>> we're also going to gather up the facts and hold responsible anybody who was involved in this.

>> reporter: steven miller is likely to face tough questions from members of congress. mr. obama addressed the justice department 's decision for phone records. while he respects freedom of press.

>> i don't expect anybody that might compromise their positions or get them killed. i've directed the defense department to ensure our military can respond lightning quick in times of crisis.

>> reporter: in the end, aides say mr. obama does not feel under siege this week. the "new york times" referencing the movie as warren beatty who suddenly decides to speak his mind whatever the political cost. aides told me in meetings this week about how to handle these bubbling controversies, the president's deflected the idea it's been a bad week. he says a bad week was when there was oil flowing into the gulf of mexico , a bad week was when four americans were killed in