The declining deficit also means that another knock-down partisan fight in Congress over raising the government's borrowing limit won't happen until October or November instead of early summer as originally envisioned.

The present dynamic, with Obama and his Democratic allies forced onto defense in three separate matters, is not lost on Republican leaders hoping to pick up seats in the House and regain control of the Senate next year.

Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) opened a news conference Thursday by asserting that "jobs continue to be our No. 1 priority" before he quickly moved to "the IRS scandal" and other alleged administration improprieties.

The matters now being investigated by multiple congressional committee "all feed and fuel the narrative of government intrusiveness and a government that is too large," said Thomas E. Cronin, a presidential historian at Colorado College.

"To some extent, the Obama administration has accidentally given Republicans a whole new line of attack," Cronin said.
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