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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid