Just What Obama Didn't Need: a CIA Probe

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2009 4:51 AM CDT
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington last week.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – The White House was busily waging a do-or-die battle to pass health reform when it was suddenly handed exactly what it wanted to avoid: a polarizing battle about Bush-era tactics that President Obama has already condemned. Obama is attempting to remain above the fray as the administration insists that AG Eric Holder is acting independently. But keeping the president out of the line of fire won't be easy, reports the Los Angeles Times.

With his poll numbers slacking, Obama can't afford to lose his core liberal supporters, many of whom are eager to see heads roll at the CIA. But an aggressive inquiry could cost him further support among the independent voters who drove him to victory last year. Either way, federal prosecutors' probes often take years, meaning that this Bush legacy will probably dog Obama for much of his first term.