Politics & Government

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Now let's look little more deeply at this narrative of scandal. NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

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.

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Gov. Scott Walker embarks on a speaking frenzy this week. He’s set to keynote huge Republican gatherings in Connecticut and New York City, then head to Iowa, to be the star of a GOP gathering. Iowa is home to the nation's first presidential caucuses.

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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.

Tesla Motors, the American maker of luxury electric cars, has been riding a wave of good publicity.

Its Model S sedan (base priced at $62,400, after federal tax credits) was just named Motor Trend Car of the Year. Reviewers at Consumer Reports gave the lithium-ion battery powered vehicle a rave.

And the company, headed by billionaire innovator Elon Musk, 41, posted a profit for the first time in its 10-year history — powered in part by zero-emission environmental credits.

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David Brooks and EJ Dionne disagree with each other – for a living. 

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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.

Gov. Walker Signs Work-Share Program

May 17, 2013

Gov. Walker signed into law on Friday, a measure allowing employers to reduce workers' hours, rather than laying them off, when business is slow.

Under the new law, workers could receive state unemployment benefits, for the hours lost. Employers would have to continue providing health insurance coverage and retirement plans.

According to the governor, the work-share program could save the state's unemployment reserve fund nearly five million dollars. He says 24 other states operate similar programs.

In February, when Walker administration outlined its plan to change the Medicaid program in Wisconsin, it estimated the additional cost at $664 million during the next two-year state budget.

Now, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau puts the likely total at $734 million.

The administration rejected federal money to expand the state's Medicaid offerings, so that it covered all people living at up to 130% of the poverty level. The governor's plan, is to cover all households with incomes up to 100% of the poverty line, and then move the others into the federal marketplace.

This weekend, President Obama will give a speech that very likely won't be about the controversies of the moment.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

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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.

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