President Barack Obama seemed to lose control of his second-term agenda when a December school massacre led him to lift gun control to the fore.

President Barack Obama (Getty Images)

Now the president finds himself rocked by multiple controversies that are demoralizing his allies and emboldening his political foes.

It's unclear how long he will be dogged by inquiries into a deadly attack in Libya, the IRS targeting of tea party groups and the seizure of Associated Press phone records in a leak investigation.

But at a minimum these episodes are causing huge distractions as Obama tries to accomplish major goals before next year's national elections consume Washington.

Obama advisers on Tuesday cast the trio of controversies as an inevitable part of life in the White House.

 

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