U.S. President In Hot Water Over Taliban POW Exchange

U.S. President Barack Obama is getting heat from all sides for exchanging five terrorists for an American soldier over the weekend, spurring outrage from Republicans and some members of his own party alike.

In a move that has stirred controversy on both sides of the political isle, Obama traded five terrorists detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been in Afghanistan in Taliban hands for five years.

Some experts said the prisoner swap was a nod to the president's liberal Democratic base, which wants to see Guantanamo Bay's prison facilities closed, as well as a bid to change the narrative amid a recent White House scandal involving the Veterans Affairs Department.

"Obama was being pounded on both sides by the Veterans Affairs scandal, and I think he tried to change the subject and pivot to something that would at least keep the Democratic base on his side," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua. "And one of the things the Democratic base does not like is the idea of Guantanamo Bay."

"Obama is concerned about his legacy and wants to say 'I ended two wars, and I left no troops behind on the battlefield,'" O'Connell added.

But adding to the controversy is that Bergdahl may have deserted his post, a detail that came to light about two days after a White House celebration of his release.

The news, if true, could land Obama in a heap of trouble, experts said, as the White House had described Bergdahl as a soldier who "served with honor."

"They were looking for a narrative changer and what they might have possibly opened up was Pandora's Box," O'Connell said.

Read more from Matthew Rustling at GlobalPost

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