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Scandals Could Hurt Democrats in 2014

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Democrats and Republicans are looking ahead to 2014 and wondering how the three scandals in Washington will effect the midterm elections. For Democrats, President Obama could prove to be toxic. For Republicans, seeming too eager to exploit the scandals could turn-off voters. According to Politico, even Obamacare could hurt Democrats in 2014.

With Obama becoming an ever-larger political target, two midterm elections that saw voters take out their anger at Washington in ways that could potentially come into play next year — 2010 and 1998 — loom large in the minds of both parties.

The convergence of a renewed focused on the attacks on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, revelations about the IRS targeting conservative groups and the Department of Justice seizing phone records from Associated Press reporters is prompting Democratic calls for accountability and raising fears that their candidates next year could become collateral damage should voters grow unhappy with Obama.

Add in concerns about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and you’ve got a party dreading another 2010-style backlash toward perceived Washington excess.

Democrats on Tuesday raised the volume on their displeasure with the scandals, suggesting they were ready to create some distance from Obama.

“First of all, when you look at this, it’s like when it rains it pours,” said Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who’s up for reelection next year, about the IRS and Department of Justice stories. “It’s very, very troubling.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who’s also facing the voters in 2014, was equally tough.

“The IRS actions were outrageous and we need an investigation and to hold them responsible,” she said.

A pair of House Democrats running in potentially competitive Senate elections used blistering language to demonstrate their anger at the IRS.

“When the government targets organizations because of their political beliefs, it has a chilling effect on free speech and damages the very foundation of our country,” said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), calling on Obama to fire the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt organizations and launch an independent investigation. “Sorry just doesn’t cut it.”

Rep. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, expressed similar outrage.

“For the IRS to wildly misuse its authority and target people or groups on ideological grounds goes against the core of our democracy and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Peters. “Michiganders and the American people are owed an explanation.”

The midterm elections will certainly be interesting.

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