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7 Presidents Who Prove Second Terms Can Be A Real Big Bummer

The second-term curse is the Madden Curse of presidencies.

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1. Ronald Reagan: Reagan dealt with the fallout of the Iran Contra Scandal, which consumed much of his second term. After an initial denial, Reagan eventually took full responsibility in an Oval Office address.


3. George W. Bush: The Iraq War took a long and brutal turn after the 2003 invasion and got worse for much of Bush's second term. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Bush's approval never recovered.

4. Bill Clinton: The Lewinsky Scandal, in which Bill Clinton denied, then admitted he had sexual relations with a White House intern, was a drag on Clinton. Clinton recovered, partially due to Republican overreach.

5. Harry Truman: The Korean War would prove to a be a drain on his presidency. His time in office saw the detonation of a nuclear weapon by the Soviets, as well as the widely unpopular dismissal of Douglas McArthur as leader of the war effort.

6. Dwight D. Eisenhower: His second term saw the launch of Sputnik and the shooting down of an American U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. The U-2 incident hurt American-Soviet relations and led to a canceled summit between leaders of the two countries.

7. Woodrow Wilson: After running for reelection with the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War," the U.S. entered World War One. Later Wilson suffered a stroke that nearly killed him and left him paralyzed. He was incapacitated for the rest of his presidency.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

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