Adam Clymer | Obama now faces "second term curse"

Stephen Hess, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and a veteran of the Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, said there were several explanations for the second-term curse.

One is that presidents try to push their best ideas when they first take office, often leaving them, he said, without “a whole new set of ideas” for the second.

Presidents also select the best members of the White House staff or cabinet when they first take office. When the pressure cooker of Washington or better jobs lead those first choices away, their successors are often not their equals.


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