Soon, there will be several changes at the top levels of the Obama administration. Following the November elections, the White House's top economic advisor, Larry Summers, will return to his position as a professor at Harvard University; Herbert Allison also announced he would step down as the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial stability. Perhaps less surprising is the much rumored, though finally announced, departure of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in October.
Shifts in administration positions are not uncommon, to be sure. In an upcoming book, however, reporter Bob Woodward describes President Obama as uncertain and surrounded by dissenting voices on his Afghanistan wartime strategy. The timing of these staff departures only draws attention to an administration in flux as midterm elections approach. What are we to make of this seemingly tumultuous time?
For some historical comparisons, we speak with Julian Zelizer. A professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, Zelizer is the author of "Jimmy Carter: The 39th President," the latest in the "American President" series. Zelizer explains what he sees going on in the Obama Administration, and some of the comparisons to another outsider president.