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Second-Term Blues

Is Obama’s free ride over?

Mar 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 25 • By FRED BARNES
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OFA’s intention, as reported by Nicholas Confessore of the Times, was to reward $500,000 donors with quarterly meetings with Obama—in other words, provide access for contributions. But White House press secretary Jay Carney said this won’t happen. He referred to OFA as “independent,” which it is, technically. In reality, it’s a subsidiary of the White House, answers to Obama, is run by his campaign aides, and is empowered by the campaign’s vast database of supporters and Obama followers on Twitter, almost 28 million strong.

Another sign of possible trouble ahead comes from the media. Yes, it’s true you would have gone broke betting the press would get tough with Obama over the past four years. And the prospect of treating him the way the media would a Republican president is nil.

But on the sequester, Obama hasn’t gotten the usual free ride. The Associated Press referred to “sky-is-falling hype” in a story about the Obama-led claims of looming disaster. “For most Americans, though, it’s far from certain they will have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day if the budget-shredder known as the sequester comes to pass,” the AP said. Fact checkers haven’t been kind either.

Obama, from all appearances, isn’t worried about serious second-term difficulties. He’s more full of himself than usual. He’s made it clear he prefers hobnobbing with Hollywood celebrities to spending time with Washington’s political class. And he may be right in thinking his situation, postreelection, makes him immune to the woes of earlier presidents. But maybe not.

It makes an enormous difference whether he stumbles badly over the next year. If the president is forced on the defensive, Democratic prospects for winning the House in 2014 will evaporate and Republican hopes of gaining the Senate will soar again. And Obama may realize he isn’t exempt from the normal workings of politics, as he once thought.


Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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