It may not have mattered whether the president himself actually called the IRS to tell them to target Tea Party groups. IRS employees could, ahem, read the tea leaves.
IRS employees were "acutely" aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement, according to an interim report being circulated Tuesday by House investigators.
The report, by staffers for Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, quoted two Internal Revenue Service officials saying the tea party applications were singled out in the targeting program that has the agency under investigation because "they were likely to attract media attention."
The government's animosity toward the tea party, the White House built that.