Will the IRS, Benghazi, and AP scandals kill Obama's second-term agenda?

The one-two-three punch certainly has the president on the defensive

(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images,Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images,REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

President Obama went into damage-control mode on Monday, trying to dismiss GOP criticism of his administration's handling of September's deadly Benghazi attacks as a partisan "sideshow," while joining the angry chorus slamming the Internal Revenue Service for targeting conservative groups. Meanwhile, a third scandal erupted, when the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly obtained some of its phone records — infecting even many liberals with scandal fever.

The trio of controversies prompted speculation that Obama's plans for his second term might be in serious trouble. "If you were setting out to provoke the scandal machine that has bedeviled every recent second-term president, having the IRS conduct audits using such key words as 'Tea Party' and 'We the People' is sure to get it going," says Eleanor Clift at The Daily Beast. Her observations were echoed by The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who said that Obama is already being forced to strike "the familiar crouch of a scandal-struck second-termer."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.