News / USA

Controversies Threaten to Derail Obama Agenda

Controversies Threaten to Derail Obama Agendai
X
May 16, 2013 6:45 PM
Just four months after his inauguration for a second four-year term, President Barack Obama finds himself on the defensive in three controversies that threaten to derail his political agenda. Obama may be on the verge of joining a long list of his predecessors who ran into severe political problems in their second terms in office. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.
Controversies Threaten to Derail Obama Agenda
Just four months after his inauguration for a second four-year term, President Barack Obama finds himself on the defensive in three controversies that threaten to derail his political agenda. Obama may be on the verge of joining a long list of his predecessors who ran into severe political problems in their second terms in office.

Analysts say the most serious threat to the president at the moment is the budding scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service, the government’s tax-collecting agency.

The IRS has admitted officials targeted conservative Tea Party groups seeking tax exempt status. Obama tried to keep ahead of the scandal by announcing the resignation of acting IRS chief Steven Miller.

“It is inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS,” said Obama.

IRS issue draws ire

The revelations about the IRS have outraged Republicans in Congress and they are promising a full round of investigations.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, said, “Now clearly, we have only started to scratch the surface of this scandal. The American people are looking for answers and I am determined to help them get to the bottom of this.”

The IRS scandal is one of three controversies that have enmeshed the Obama White House.

The administration remains on the defensive over its handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year that claimed the lives of four Americans.

And the Justice Department is being pressed to justify the secret seizure of phone records from the Associated Press in connection with a leak investigation.

It is the prospect that the IRS targeted Americans for their political views, however, that sparked a strong reaction from across the political spectrum, said analyst John Fortier.

“And so that I think that is what makes it just stick much more in the craw of the American people [upset them], both that it is not a very popular organization, but also it is one that people know that it has significant information that could redound upon them and they would not want to see it done to them,” said Fortier.

Remaining effective

The scandals are a distraction for the president, said Fortier, but not necessarily crippling.

“The agenda that he has now is one that has to get the agreement of both parties, and I think the scandal might be somewhat broadly hurtful to him but is not going to damage him if both parties see some value in working together on some of these issues,” he said.

Fortier adds that one of those issues that still may draw bipartisan support is immigration reform.

Obama may be about to join a long line of predecessors, though, who ran into trouble in their second terms, said former Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein.

“Every presidency goes into a ditch, usually in the fifth or sixth year. And if you do not have the trusted relationships in the House and the Senate or with the American people, then you do not have any safety net to fall back on.”

Duberstein notes that all recent two-term presidents - Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - experienced either scandals or political setbacks in their second terms.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eddie
May 16, 2013 5:04 PM
On the IRS scandal, I'm suspicious of Harry Reids' assertion that Romney hasn't paid taxes in 10 years. And why is Obama suggesting that we don't need an "Independent Agency" to investigate the IRS ? Something smells really bad here ...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid