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Washington Post Obama Done

May 11, 2013 by

Recent events suggest that the 44th president may not be immune to the phenomenon that historians call the “second-term curse.”

Not four months after his ambitious inaugural address, President Obama finds himself struggling to move his legislative agenda through an unbudging Congress.

And over the past week, two flaring controversies — one over his administration’s handling of the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya, the other over Internal Revenue Service employees targeting tea party groups for special scrutiny — have dominated the discussion in Washington.

It is far from clear how big a political liability either will turn out to be.

At a minimum, they represent diversions working against a president who is keenly aware of how little time he has left to achieve big things.

And they are a test of the insular Obama team’s skill at keeping its footing in an environment of hyperpartisan politics and hair-trigger media.

On Friday, for instance, news of the IRS admission and developments surrounding the Benghazi attack turned White House press secretary Jay Carney’s daily briefing into a feeding frenzy and drowned out coverage of a speech that Obama was giving that day on the implementation of the health-care law that stands as his biggest achievement.

“After the election, the president said he was familiar with the literature on second-term difficulties,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss. “We scholars may be about to see whether knowledge of that history can help a president when they begin to strike.”

via Will Obama suffer the ‘second-term curse?’ – The Washington Post.

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