Will Ghosts of Bush Administration Derail Obama's Agenda?

Investigations into Bush-era terrorist interrogations could harm Obama's plans.

ByABC News
July 12, 2009, 12:44 PM

July 12, 2009— -- As if he didn't already have enough on his plate, President Obama will now likely have to deal with something he hoped to avoid: revisiting Bush-era scandals.

Attorney General Eric Holder is likely to push forward with a criminal investigation into the Bush administration's interrogation practices on suspected terrorists, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos confirmed today. This comes despite the White House's desire to see the issue disappear.

"We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards," Obama told Stephanopoulos on "This Week" in January.

But Obama's attorney general appears to be moving forward on his own. Holder is reported to be considering whether to appoint a prosecutor to investigate the interrogation practices that some have called torture.

Washington is split between those who say the nation needs to move on and others who say that our leaders must be held accountable for their actions.

Complicating matters is a report today that the Central Intelligence Agency, for eight years, withheld information from Congress on a secret counterterrorism program on the direct orders of then Vice President Dick Cheney.

Having the Bush era back in the spotlight could form even more partisan bickering in Washington and possibly derail the president's ambitious agenda in health care and energy reform as well as plans to stimulate the economy.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, Obama's Republican opponent in the election, said on "Meet the Press" this morning that such an investigation would not be in the country's best interests.

"For us to continue this and harm our image throughout the world. I agree with the president of the United States. It's time to move forward," McCain said.