The White House was in damage control mode Tuesday as an escalating series of potential scandals raised questions about whether officials abused their authority — all while threatening to undermine President Obama’s second-term ambitions.

The latest controversy to hit the headlines was the allegation that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of phone records from Associated Press journalists. The AP went public with the charge Monday, and quickly earned sympathy from lawmakers on both sides who widely agreed that the record grab appeared to be unnecessarily intrusive.

This came on top of acknowledgement by the IRS that its agents had singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny. In response, the administration made a series of announcements on Tuesday.

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