When Darrell Issa called White House press secretary Jay Carney a "paid liar" on Sunday, House Republican leadership was aghast. They immediately called Issa's staffers, sources tell Politico, and their message was simple: Tell your boss to calm down. The staff agreed that the remark was out of line, but Issa himself has refused to publicly backtrack. "The White House has tried to vilify me rather than getting into the facts," he says. When asked about leadership's rumored gripes, he replied, "I didn't hear anything."
House leadership doesn't want Issa to take the screws off President Obama, but they worry that the brash rhetoric from the Oversight Committee chair will give Democrats an opening to dismiss him and hence his investigations. One senior Republican said Issa had erred by shifting focus to Carney. "No one cares about Jay Carney. That's a sideshow." And some Republicans, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have been publicly distancing themselves from Issa's comments, USA Today reports. "Let's not make it personal," Graham said.