WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama's second term may be remembered more for his scandals than for anything else he's done thus far in his troubled presidency.
It's hard enough trying to put out one fire, but the White House now has three fires burning out of control at once -- igniting a torrent of investigations on Capitol Hill, a criminal investigation in the Justice Department and the resignation of the man who ran the IRS.
The scandal over the Obama administration's handling -- and apparent cover-up -- of last year's al-Qaida-driven attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the murder of our ambassador and three other Americans is showing no signs of going away.
It began with questions about why the desperate pleas for added security from U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens went unheeded at Obama's State Department. Then it morphed into the White House's dubious claim that the killings resulted from a protest that just got out of hand. It turned into something a great deal more sinister when the administration's talking points went to great lengths to downplay, or even refute, that this was a terrorist attack by an al-Qaida-affiliated group.
Days went by before the White House could admit the Benghazi assault was a terrorist act. Any admission that al-Qaida was involved came even later as the scandal's fires intensified. More recently, a State Department official told a House hearing he knew it was a terrorist action from day one.
Getting information from the White House has been like pulling teeth. At a news conference this week, Obama was dismissing Republican criticisms about the administration's multiple explanations of the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks as nothing more than a political "side show."
That dismissive counterattack ranks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's insensitive, "What difference does it make?" remark at a Senate hearing into the murders and their aftermath.
Then on Wednesday, Obama's administration grudgingly released what GOP leaders were seeking -- 100 pages of emails that revealed multiple, heavily laundered drafts of its talking points about what happened.
The emails revealed that the explanations went through a dozen revisions, showing that the State Department was more concerned with how the talking points would play on Capitol Hill, especially among its Republican critics.
Dropped from the draft, for example, were references to the CIA's early warnings about potential terrorist violence at the U.S. consulate.