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When dramas, scandals strike after re-election of a president

Story highlights

  • Scandal engulfing Petraeus has jolted Obama's national security team
  • George W. Bush hurt by Katrina; Bill Clinton was impeached
  • Reagan was dogged by Iran/Contra, and Watergate ended Nixon's presidency

Just as President Barack Obama secured his re-election, a scandal jolted his national security team.

The resignation of retired four-star general David Petraeus as CIA director over an extramarital affair followed by the investigation of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, in relation to e-mail exchanges with a woman caught up in the Petraeus mess is just one of many dramas to unfold following a presidential re-election.

Is Petraeus pillow talk a security threat?

Here, we take a look at big scandals and controversies that plagued other presidents after voters re-elected them to the White House:

George W. Bush | HURRICANE KATRINA, 2005
President George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, defeating Democrat Sen. John Kerry. The Republican was a wartime president after the 9/11 attacks and managed to secure a second term as commander-in-chief.

Eight months after Bush's second inauguration, Hurricane Katrina destroyed parts of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people. The Category Three storm made landfall on August 29, 2005, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and causing $108 billion in damage.

Bush was asked to declare a federal state of emergency for the city before the storm hit but delayed acting for days, leaving many without any aid.

A congressional report released in 2006 called the government response to the storm a "failure of leadership" that left people stranded when they were most in need. Bush left office at the end of his second term in 2009.

Bill Clinton | MONICA LEWINSKY, 1998
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky," President Bill Clinton said with his wife, Hillary, standing by his side at a White House news conference.

It was January 26, 1998, and several days earlier, news organizations began reporting the alleged affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, a young White House intern.

Clinton eventually acknowledged a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and became only the second president to be impeached by the U.S. House, which alleged perjury and obstruction of justice following a lengthy investigation by an independent counsel.

However, the Senate acquitted him in 1999, and Clinton left office at the end of his second term two years later.

Ronald Reagan | IRAN-CONTRA AFFAIR, 1986
President Ronald Reagan did not blink at fighting communism in Grenada and in Central America, but funding of anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua would lead to the worst scandal of his administration. The secret and rogue operation under the direction of the National Security Council's Oliver North used the proceeds from weapons sales to Iran to fund the Nicaraguan Contras -- despite a congressional ban on such funding.

Ronald Reagan appeared on TV stating there were no "arms for hostages" deal but later admitted that there had been.

Richard Nixon | WATERGATE, 1972
The Watergate break-in triggered the slow unraveling of Richard Nixon's presidency.

On the night of June 17, 1972, operatives of Nixon's re-election campaign broke into offices at the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington -- headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered a scandalous trail that led to the Oval Office and Nixon's resignation in 1974.

Opinion: 5 things we've learned from Petraeus scandal