Second Acts: the perils of presidents' second terms
A Marine sentry stands guard, indicating that President Obama is working in the West Wing of the White House. Charles Dharapak/AP
Richard Nixon gives a victory salute as he leaves the White House after resigning. AP
Bill Clinton tells a TV audience, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky’. Greg Gibson/AP
Lyndon Johnson tells a nationwide audience that he will not seek or accept the nomination for another term. AP
The second term of Thomas Jefferson was blemished by a trade embargo with Britain and France and the trial of his former vice president, Aaron Burr, on treason charges. Painting by Rembrandt Peale/AP photo
Abraham Lincoln served only a few months of a second term. He was assassinated shortly after taking office. Library of Congress
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, shown here with his Scottie Fala and his caretakers’ granddaughter, won an unprecedented third presidential term, despite an often tumultuous second term marred by bitter fights with the Senate and a conservative US Supreme Court. M.L. Suckley/F.D.R. Library/AP
President-elect George H.W. Bush (l.), President Ronald Reagan, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev stand on Governors Island in New York Harbor. Reagan’s relations with Gorbachev boosted his foreign-policy legacy. Boris Yurchenko/AP
President Obama talks on the phone with Mitt Romney on the night of his reelection victory. Pete Souza/Official White House Photo
Against the backdrop of the presidential seal, President Obama pauses in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building after delivering a speech on taxes. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
The myths and realities of second-term presidents – and what they portend for Obama.
ByRobert A. Lehrman, Correspondent
They sit outside the Oval Office beside a table still piled with Christmas gifts: four White House aides waiting for the president. It is January 1997. They're supposed to talk with Bill Clinton about his inaugural, laying out themes for his second term.