AP, IRS and Benghazi Scandals: Will They Torpedo Obama Administration Agenda?

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President Barack Obama finds himself dealing with three separate scandals in a confluence of events that could threaten his second-term agenda.


He was already in damage control mode and trying to dismiss GOP criticism of his administration's handling of September's deadly Benghazi attacks.

Now, the Internal Revenue Service has been under scrutiny for targeting conservative groups - a surprising admission that Obama vocally criticized.

And meanwhile, a third scandal erupted after the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly obtained its phone records.

Even the most ardent liberals can't ignore the impact of three potential scandals at once, as Obama's plans for his second term might be in real trouble.

Obama's attempt to quiet his critics on Monday won't be enough to lift his already tenuous second-term fortunes, some political analysts predict.

The administration's failure to get out information on Benghazi quickly allowed Republicans to turn the inquiry into a "sideshow," as Obama calls it.

His promise to hold people accountable "if" the allegations against the IRS are true will only hand his critics the opportunity to blame him for that too.

No one believes Obama ordered the IRS to do this, and his outrage is appropriate, but it also didn't position him as being on top of the matter at all.

Rather than taking quick action, such as firing those involved or opening a full White House investigation, he may be at the mercy of the details.

And we haven't even gotten to the AP scandal yet.

In moderate and liberal circles, the phone-records scandal, because it involves the AP and raises anew the specter of Big Brother, may be the worst yet.

At least when it comes to Obama's reputation.

Of all people to be tied to an alleged trampling of the First Amendment, Obama has the most to lose. The question is whether he can bounce back.

If he can identify where his administration went wrong in all three cases, acknowledge it and show concrete and decisive action in each case, maybe.

If Obama falls short, he's going to have a very ugly second term.

All the right-wing impeach-Obama groups will no longer seem like the fringe of the GOP if his stature, credibility and reasonableness take a hit.

The uneven responses to Benghazi, followed by revelations about "the deliberate targeting of conservative groups by the IRS," and now the AP mess?

All together, it may simply make it impossible, or at least much more difficult, for Obama to paint himself as the voice of reason, or above the fray, ever again.

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