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President Barack Obama is not prepared to pack his bags and move out of the White House in 2012.
Contrary to the viewpoints of many conservative voters who would like to believe the president has no chance of being reelected, just the opposite is true.
In fact, according to The Keys to the White House by Allan Lichtman, the president is set to win a second term – if he can avoid a scandal.
A couple of key developments in recent news may have created that scandal for this president, however.
The first scandal that could stand in the way is the bankruptcy of a solar panel company called Solyndra. The company was flaunted by President Obama in 2010.
He called it a “testament to American ingenuity” saying, “It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future,”
“We are poised to generate countless new jobs — good-paying, middle-class jobs — right here in the United States of America,” Obama said.
Solyndra came into the public eye on Sept. 6, however, when the company declared bankruptcy. The jobs went out the window too. With the closing, 1,100 workers were laid off.
Since then, the company’s relationship with the Obama administration has been scrutinized. Solyndra investor George Kaiser, who raised more than $50,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign, is currently being investigated.
Information has also surfaced about a government loan given to Solyndra for $535 million with a lower quarterly interest rate than other projects.
The White House has claimed that it had no involvement in the loan application. However, the Associated Press reports the administration restructured the loan in a way that would allow private investors like Kaiser to move ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of default.
While White House logs show Kaiser made at least 16 visits to the president’s aides since 2009, the George Kaiser Family Foundation told the New York Times “he did not participate in any discussions with the U.S. government regarding the loan.”
The second scandal that could prevent Obama’s reelection has been under investigation since whistle-blowers came forward following the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010.
It has had a lower profile than the Solyndra investigations, but it could still create a problem for the president.
Fast and Furious, a government operation that allowed as many as 1,800 guns to be smuggled across the border to Mexican drug cartels, began in 2009.
Although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been noted as the main agency behind the plan, the Department of Justice, Internal Revenue Service, FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement may also be involved.
After Terry’s death, the guns used in his murder were later traced back to Fast and Furious, leading Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to begin investigating.
Subsequently, documents and emails show that agents involved with Fast and Furious and gun shop owners who were told to sell guns to straw purchasers expressed their discomfort with the program.
Much of the ongoing investigation into Fast and Furious has centered on who knew what, and when.
Holder told CNN that ongoing investigations showing involvement did not reach “the upper levels” of the Justice Department, and on March 23, Obama told Univision that he did not approve the operation.
However, emails have been released showing that at least three national security officials with the White House were given details about the operation.
The officials included Kevin O’Reilly, the director for North American Affairs on the White House National Security Staff; Dan Restrepo, the NSS senior director for the Western Hemisphere; and Greg Gatjanis, director for Counterterrorism and Counternarcotics.
While the emails don’t contain details of the operation, they show that the White House was in contact with ATF officials involved in Fast and Furious, Politico reports.
Despite conservative disapproval with President Obama’s stimulus and healthcare bills, the biggest obstacle in his way of a second stay in the White House are these two scandals.
Time will tell if they truly do hinder the incumbent’s chances of keeping his office oval.