Geraldo to Newsmax: Obama Scandals Point to Lame-Duck Presidency

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 06:04 PM

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

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Geraldo Rivera tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that the three major controversies currently facing the Obama administration are pointing to a lame-duck presidency.

"It's kind of sad to track this," the veteran newsman tells Newsmax. "There's a tradition where in their second terms, the president becomes a lame duck perceived as weak. His administration might get sloppy. They got assailed by critics. They spend the whole second term defending themselves in court.

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"There's a real possibility that the president's agenda, his ambitious agenda — immigration reform, which is my dearest cause, a budget, a jobs program. I don’t think this president will, given the current circumstance, be able to advance any positive agenda.

"Right now, the Obama administration will be playing defense."

Rivera is the host of the Fox News program "Geraldo at Large" and also hosts a nationally syndicated radio show. He was in the South Florida area on Wednesday for WFTL-AM’s "Evening With Geraldo."

Latest: Is Obama in Cover-Up on Benghazi? Vote Here

"Many of the people who live in the area are around my generation," he tells Newsmax. "They remember me from 'Eyewitness News' over 40 years ago in New York. They've kind of charted my career. They've come down here, settled, their families have grown up. They have their own Geraldo references from the later days."

A former lawyer, Rivera attributed his success to not having been trained traditionally as a journalist.

"I was a street lawyer, a long-haired radical representing activist groups back in the day," he says. "The civil-rights movement was still going on, the very emotional anti-war movement was going on — and I was really a product of that turmoil, a product of the late '60s, early '70s, where the country was in crisis perennially, going lurching from one situation to the next. I came to the business at the age of 26. Now, I'm 69.

"The basic profession of journalism — gathering data from point A and conveying it to point B — is very, very important," Rivera adds. "But what is also — and at least as important and the reason the brand now has sustained its uniqueness — is that it's not just seeing the news and reporting it, it's the way it affects me.

"It's the way I react to it; it's the way I respond to it — and people have become so familiar with me over the years."

Returning to the scandals embroiling the White House, Rivera sized up how each may threaten President Barack Obama's legacy.

The deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya last Sept. 11 is "very emotional," Rivera tells Newsmax, but "Benghazi will ultimately be just kind of a political shoving match. I don’t think it's going very far.

"The real story there, though, is the spinning: how they grafted the talking points for Ambassador [Susan] Rice — and I don’t see a crime there. It's a policy matter. It's politics. The president, even after Benghazi, seven weeks later, was elected for the second time."

As for the U.S. Justice Department secretly obtaining the telephone records of reporters and editors of The Associated Press, "that really offends reporters — and it really shakes us to our core to think that our telephone conversations, our emails, are all being monitored by the FBI.

Latest: Is Obama in Cover-Up on Benghazi? Vote Here

"It speaks of Big Brother," Rivera adds. "It speaks of the black helicopters and all of the reasons people are paranoid about the government. But, ultimately, the probe of the Associated Press will prove, again, to be legal."

"But," he continues, "then you get down to the one that really is significant — and that is the IRS investigating right-wing groups or conservative groups, like the tea party."

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service apologized for singling out groups with such words as "tea party" or "patriot" in their names when reviewing their applications for nonprofit status.

Reports have since emerged that the agency gave far better treatment to left-wing groups than those on the right, with data showing that the IRS approved dozens of liberal and progressive organizations as tax-exempt while leaving conservative groups hanging.

No tea party applications were approved in a 27-month period beginning in February 2010, USA Today reports.

"There, you have the real possibility of a criminal grand jury, indictments, and administration officials, or at least civil servants, within the IRS being indicted and convicted of a federal crime using their power for a political, partisan purpose," Rivera tells Newsmax. "That one has legs — and the question is whether people in the IRS communicated with people in the White House, did the White House direct the IRS to crack down on conservative groups?

"If you prove that, then you have a major scandal on your hands."


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