Rich Galen

Having been back in the western world for about six hours, I am immersed in the growing triumvirate of scandals that are threatening to engulf President Barack Obama's second term.

The three currently on the table are: Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservative taxpayers, and the Department of Justice looking at the phone records of Associate Press reporters.

There is an old saying in Washington: "It's not the crime, it's the cover up" that does the damage.

The Nixon Administration attempted to dismiss the June 17, 1972 break-in of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex as "a third rate burglary" which it more-or-less was.

1972 was an election year and despite the wailing of Democrats about the seriousness of the campaign probably having ordered the break-in, Nixon beat Democratic Senator George McGovern 49 states to one that Fall.

I only point that out to show that the public wasn't particularly interested in the break-ins at the time, but as the scandal marinated, it got worse and worse for the Nixon team.

By the time the smoke cleared over 38 members of the Nixon Administration or his re-election campaign plead guilty or were indicted for their participation in the cover-up.

President Richard Nixon chose to resign rather than face impeachment.

So, the Obama Administration should take little no solace in this weekend's CNN poll showing his job approval is about level at 53-45.

Whether the President knew or not, the fact that the IRS was being used as a political tool is seen as a big deal. That same poll shows 85 percent of those surveyed thought the IRS targeting conservative groups for "greater scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status."

Similarly, a question about the "inaccurate statements made by the Obama administration" after the attacks on the compound in Benghazi - not the attacks themselves - are seen as important by 84 percent of respondents.

Finally, the poll asked about whether the issue of the "Justice Department secretly collecting phone records for reporters and editors" of the Associated Press. 87 percent thought that was important.

If the CNN asked that question in the White House briefing room it would have exceeded 100 percent.

The reaction of the Obama White House has pretty much followed the established pattern in modern history. Senior WH advisor Dan Pfeiffer called the scandals, "partisan fishing expeditions."

Sort of rhymes with "third rate burglary," a little.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at