Let Me Start: Start of the second-term curse?

Updated
By Hardball staff
<p>The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames, September 11, 2012.</p>

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames, September 11, 2012.

Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters/Files

The head of the State Department investigation into the Sept. 11th, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, defended the inquiry’s decision not to interview Hillary Clinton, saying the responsibility within the department lay below her level.

Thomas Pickering was on “Meet the Press” yesterday, sitting alongside House Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, and the two men got into a spirited argument about Pickering’s willingness to testify before Rep. Issa’s committee. It’s clear Republicans see Benghazi as the main vehicle by which they hope to diminish President Obama in the history books, and Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2016. And as Politico reports this morning, Benghazi has become House Speaker John Boehner’s obsession.

Republicans are also seizing upon a scandal in the Internal Revenue Service: The IRS singled out small-government groups applying for tax exempt status, zeroing in on Tea Party organizations or groups with “Patriot” in their names. On Friday, the head of the IRS division on tax exempt organization apologized to the groups. A full audit is due out this week, and House Republicans are vowing hearings and investigations of their own.

So are these twin scandals the beginning of President Obama’s second-term curse?

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Let Me Start: Start of the second-term curse?

Updated