President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office ahead of Tuesday night's speech on Syria. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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The sudden eruption of second-term scandals is likely to cost President Obama his fondest dream for his presidency: the opportunity to transcend the partisan wars of Washington. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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President Obama answers questions during his news conference at the White House on Tuesday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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Police stand guard in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices hear arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney pauses while speaking at a campaign rally at the Patriot Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., on Monday. Charles Dharapak/AP hide caption

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A new NPR poll shows the outcome of the Nov. 6 election is too close to call. Mitt Romney leads President Obama nationwide; Obama leads Romney in key battleground states. Both leads are within the poll'€™s margin of error. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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Mitt Romney shakes hands with President Obama after their final debate Monday in Boca Raton, Fla. Eric Gay/AP hide caption

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Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern talks about the bombs being used in Vietnam at a $250-a-person fundraising dinner in Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 1972. AP hide caption

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President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday. Charles Dharapak/AP hide caption

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Early voting has begun in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. Voting booths were set up for early voting Thursday at the Black Hawk County Courthouse in Waterloo, Iowa. Ahead of Wednesday's first presidential debate, an NPR poll finds President Obama with a 7-point lead nationally, but his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, is within striking distance. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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