Executive Privilege a Risky Move for Obama
President now owns Fast and Furious scandal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2012 4:54 AM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2012 6:30 AM CDT
Obama has invoked executive privilege for the first time in his administration.    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – President Obama's decision to invoke executive privilege for the first time in his administration is a bold but risky move in an election year, pundits say. Here's a look at what he's up against now:

  • Most administrations assert executive privilege at some point, but Obama has started what will probably be a long, embarrassing, and distracting fight just five months before the election, notes David Nakamura at the Washington Post. Obama's opponents have been quick to remind him of his earlier stance on executive privilege, when he said the Bush administration hid behind it "every time there’s something a little shaky that’s taking place."

  • Entering the battle between the House GOP and Attorney General Eric Holder will make it easier for Obama to paint House Republicans as divisive and extreme, write Amie Parnes at the Hill, but the move also brings him "closer to the Fast and Furious scandal, and directly connects Obama to Holder, seen by some as a controversial figure in the administration."
  • Obama's assertion of executive privilege may or may not hold up if the House decides to sue, but "one thing now is clear," writes Shannen Coffin at the National Review. "Fast and Furious is owned, lock, stock and barrel, by the president. No longer is this a merely DOJ problem."
  • The move is part of just another "pointless partisan fight," decides the New York Times. The Justice Department could have worked out a deal with the House committee pursuing Holder, but "instead, they show again that every issue, large or small, can be turned into ammunition for political combat."