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Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

IS THAT haunted sea­son here in Wash­ing­ton again. I re­fer not to Hal­loween and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing skele­tons, syn­thetic cob­webs and plas­tic creepy-crawlies that re­cently pop­u­lated our front lawns, but to the spec­tre that reg­u­larly re­turns at this stage in the po­lit­i­cal cy­cle here – the Curse of the Sec­ond Term.

This time a year ago, Barack Obama was on the brink of be­com­ing the 16th Amer­i­can pres­i­dent to win two suc­ces­sive elec­tions. A cou­ple of days later, Mitt Rom­ney was soundly de­feated, and chas­tened Repub­li­cans, it was imag­ined, would re­tire to lick their wounds.

Backed by a an­other solid pop­u­lar man­date, it was said, Obama had a rare op­por­tu­nity; a 12- or 18-month win­dow in which to push through his agenda and build a legacy for the ages, free of the pres­sure of ever run­ning for elec­tion again. So much for that. In­stead, all the talk is of the “curse”, that sup­pos­edly im­mutable truth of pres­i­den­cies. Back in the 19th cen­tury, Lin­coln was as­sas­si­nated just 41 days af­ter de­liv­er­ing his im­mor­tal sec­ond in­au­gu­ral speech. The sec­ond term

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