In the summer of 2009, Van Jones, special adviser on the environment and green jobs to President Obama, faced a media firestorm. It was fueled by investigations into his past. Jones, a committed environmental activist and civil rights attorney, resigned the following September. "On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide," he said at the time. Since Jones resigned over two years ago, President Obama has faced mounting criticism from environmental activists, while contenders for the GOP nomination claim that the president is too extreme in his efforts to protect the environment.