Now let's look little more deeply at this narrative of scandal. NPR's Scott Horsley has more.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: When President Obama gets frustrated with the gridlock in Washington, he sometimes looks back wistfully to the decades after World War II. Back then, he suggests Republicans and Democrats managed to work together, despite their differences, building highways, protecting consumers, and educating generations of workers.
The phrase "second term curse" is so familiar that it's become a cliche of American politics. Whether it's President Richard Nixon's resignation or President Bill Clinton's impeachment, presidents tend to have a tough time during the back half of an eight-year presidency.
Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
NPR's Peter Overby reports on the Congressional testimony of IRS officials in response to the scandal over special scrutiny of tea party groups. Underneath all the politics, there's a policy question that hasn't been addressed.
It's been a long slog already for the bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight.
The legislation has been the target of more than 300 amendments during days of debate and votes by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But while the bill has largely held its own so far, its prospects for getting through Congress remain uncertain.
In Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's view, the immigration overhaul is "moving very well."
"It's moving a lot faster than people said it would," says Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There are three simultaneous controversies rattling the Obama administration this week: the IRS, the phone records of the AP reporters, and Benghazi. NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro joins us. Ari, thanks for being with us.
President Obama's commencement speeches seem to be his real State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
But last year, he reminded Air Force Academy graduates that they were the first class in nearly a decade to graduate with "no Americans fighting in Iraq."
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
Throughout all his graduation speeches, Obama sounds themes of shared responsibility, as when he told University of Michigan students in 2010 that "government is us."
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Obama's commencement speeches often seem more about the big-picture state of the union than do his State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
President Obama checks to see if it's still raining as a Marine holds an umbrella for him during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Thursday.
President Obama's first term was free from the kind of scandal that consumes every ounce of political oxygen in Washington. Now, in light of a trio of controversies, his supporters find themselves in the uncomfortable and unaccustomed position of having to defend some hard-to-defend events.
Democrats have offered up a range of responses. They view the issues — Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department snooping on The Associated Press — as separate issues that shouldn't be lumped together.
The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Credit Raveendran / AFP/Getty Images
In this photograph from 2009, children play in front of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India. Twenty-five years prior, in 1984, it was the site of a deadly gas leak that killed thousands of people.
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
The West Fertilizer Co., shown from the air, lies in ruins after an explosion that killed 15 people, injured more than 150 and damaged houses and buildings for blocks in every direction.
You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."
Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we go to Ohio where black business owners are meeting to swap some new ideas. Basketball legend Magic Johnson even got a lead on an investment there. We'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes. But first, House Republicans voted yesterday to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare law - again.
I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away and it is time yet again for a visit to the Barbershop. That's where the guys talk about what's in the news, what's on their minds.
NPR's Ron Elving and National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, sitting in for Ken Rudin, look back at the week of scandals rocking the Obama administration. The president says he's angry and fires the IRS chief for the agency's targeting of groups with names that include "Tea Party" and "patriot" for extra scrutiny. And Attorney General Eric Holder is back on Capitol Hill, this time testifying on the Justice Department's seizing of phone records of journalists.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was front-and-center during the Republican-led impeachment of President Clinton in 1998, is cautioning his GOP colleagues about the risk of appearing to be too eager as they dig into the scandals now dogging the Obama administration.
Next week, voters in Falmouth, Massachusetts decide whether to spend $14 million to tear down two wind turbines - or turbines if you prefer. The Cape Cod town installed these turbines just three years ago in an effort to produce renewable energy and cut costs. Nearby residents says the turbines are a health hazard and that the only cure is to take them down.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Renee's in Afghanistan. I'm Steve Inskeep. President Obama's administration has gone through entire seasons when it seemed the bottom was falling out. The administration's outward approach at times like this has been to seem unflappable and move on.
The candidates have spent a record amount of money. They've stumped hard in a city that isn't easy to campaign in — 470 square miles sliced up into neighborhoods divided by a web of freeways.
Yet despite nearly $20 million in spending in the March primary alone, turnout is expected to be low next Tuesday in Los Angeles when voters go to the polls to pick a new mayor to replace the term-limited Antonio Villaraigosa.
As a result, City Councilman Eric Garcetti and his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are engaged in an all-out blitz for votes across the sprawling city.
On the same day House Republicans scheduled their latest symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, as part of their full-court press against the law they also took to Twitter to say, in three words, why they oppose the legislation.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. Turkey's Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan is visiting Washington today. After meeting with President Obama, the two leaders took questions from the press in the White House rose garden. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, the president took the opportunity to respond to some of the controversies that have been buffeting his administration.