WSU Newsline: President Obama faces the 'second-term curse'
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:00 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Ken Ciboski after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-7137 or kenneth.ciboski@wichita.edu.

President Barack Obama won a second term by defeating Mitt Romney in the presidential election, but now he faces a challenge with deep roots in political history – what historians and commentators call the "second-term curse." Wichita State University political scientist Ken Ciboski looks at some reasons why second-term presidents often struggle.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: With the presidential election in his rearview mirror, President Obama can look forward to a second term. But winning the presidency is just one thing he had to overcome. Now the president faces what historians and commentators call the "second-term curse." Wichita State University political scientist Ken Ciboski explains why many presidents struggle in the second term.

Ciboski: "First-term presidents usually have something major they want to push or an agenda with the Congress, and so they blow most everything that they have in mind in their first term. Second-term presidents don't have so much to do in that regard, although there may be some minor accomplishments."

Announcer: In addition, presidents select the best members of the White House cabinet or staff when they first take office. When the pressure cooker of being under the microscope in Washington or better jobs lead those first choices away, their successors are often not their equals. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Ciboski says significant second-term accomplishments by presidents are few and far between. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "minor accomplishments."

Ciboski: "You know, actually second-term presidents don't do well on the domestic agenda side of things. They maybe have some foreign policy accomplishments. They might get an arms agreement or perhaps as President Eisenhower did in his second term -- he went to Little Rock with troops, kept a high school open and desegregated it -- things like that, just some kind of minor accomplishments."

Sound bite #2
Ciboski says presidents elected for a second term like to think they have a mandate. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "have a mandate."

Ciboski: "Presidents who get elected for a second term often think they have a mandate, and they feel that the people voted for them, maybe even more overwhelmingly than they did the first time, then they have a mandate. And people vote for a candidate for president for a lot of different reasons, so it may not be for the reason that the president thinks. And so they don't often have success even when they think they have a mandate."

Sound bite #3
Ciboski says it's hard to say how President Obama's second term will go with a several new advisers and appointments. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "or should not do."

Ciboski: "Yes, in a second term, say, for example President Obama, he's going to lose many of his key advisers and Cabinet post people. And the question is, who will replace them? I mean, these people have memory. They have experience. They went through the rigors of the first term, so it's going to be difficult to replace them with people who have a memory and can advise the president properly on what he should or should not do."

Sound bite #4
Ciboski said the universal health care program was a big accomplishment for President Obama during his first term. The sound bite is 29 seconds and the outcue is "do very well."

Ciboski: "President Obama during his first term, for example, his universal medical health care program. He said, 'Let's get that passed, no excuses, get it done.' So that was a big thing for the first term. And that's when presidents really kind of use up their political capital, which I think he did with most members of the Congress, especially the Republican side. So, now he goes into a second term, and he may get something like maybe gun control, or something along those lines, but that remains to be seen. But on the domestic side they usually don't do very well."

Sound bite #5
Ciboski further explains why a president has to get most of what he wants to get done in the first two years of his first term. The sound bite is 23 seconds and the outcue is "in the Senate."

Ciboski: "Presidents usually have to get most of what they want done in their first term, and especially in the first two years because oftentimes they'll bring their own party in with them in the Congress. And when that mid-term election comes along, as was the case with President Obama, it can change its political makeup when the Republicans took control of the House, and the Democrats didn't have nearly such a margin as they had before in the Senate."

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Contact: Ken Ciboski, (316) 978-7137 or kenneth.ciboski@wichita.edu.