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Shaky Economy May Dislodge Obama's Footing

By Dan Balz
Nothing may be more important to public assessments of President Obama's leadership than the state of the economy and at this point there are political warning lights flashing.

In light of the latest unemployment figures, there are more persistent questions coming at the administration. Did Obama and his team get it right last winter when they put together their $787 billion stimulus package or did they undershoot? If they did make a mistake, what should they do now?

The administration is trying to dampen down talk that they didn't get it quite right. Vice President Biden opened the door to questions on Sunday, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos, "We and everyone else misread the economy." But he insisted that the stimulus applied "is the right package given the circumstances we're in."

Obama, in Moscow, tried to modulate the impact of the vice president's words that the administration had somehow miscalculated. "No, no, no, no, no," he told NBC's Chuck Todd. "Rather than say misread, we had incomplete information." To ABC's Jake Tapper, he said, "There's nothing that we would have done differently. We needed a stimulus and we needed a substantial stimulus."

What both Obama and Biden were trying to explain away was the dissonance between their early assurances that the big stimulus package would hold the unemployment rate to around 8 percent with Thursday's report showing it at 9.5 percent. The jobless rate is expected to rise further in the months to come, with some economists projecting that it will go above 10 percent for the first time since 1982.

It is hard to square an assessment that the administration underestimated the severity of the recession and the assertion that the White House wouldn't have done anything different had it known how bad things really were. At the time, there were some economists who warned that even a package as big as $800 billion was not enough to deal with the severity of the economy's collapse.

One reason the president and others may have confidence in their stimulus package is that so little of the money has actually been spent. That is not necessarily by design--administration officials said at the time of passage that money would flow quickly. Now, the fact that it hasn't provides some hope to these officials that when it does arrive its impact will be felt. "The second hundred days you're going to see a lot more jobs created," Biden insisted on Sunday.

Biden said it was premature to decide whether a second stimulus package is needed, as some economists have suggested. Earlier this spring, administration officials were convinced they couldn't get another package through Congress even if needed.

Obama was equivocal on the question of whether there is something more to do, saying that is something "that we wrestle with constantly." But he added that there were legitimate concerns about the size of the deficit all the current spending will create. "In the midterm and long term we're going to have to get control of that," he said on ABC.

Concerns about whether the stimulus package is or will work are the last thing Obama needed at this moment. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has set the administration's calendar to focus all energies this month on the legislative battle over health care. Questions about the economy, about the need for more stimulus, would only complicate hopes for passing what other presidents have failed to get done.

Obama continues to argue that health care reform is a critical piece of his plan to fix the economy, long term. But there are even some Democrats outside the administration who worry that Obama and his team may have taken their eye off the economy, that they are not sufficiently vigilant in making sure that they produce the job growth they have promised since January.

So far, Obama hasn't been blamed for the overall state of the economy, which he repeatedly reminds people is something he inherited from his predecessor. But there continue to be indications of slackening confidence in his remedies.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll recorded a noticeable decline in the percentage of people who said they believed the stimulus package had or would work--and that was before the unemployment rate rose again. That poll also found that rising optimism about the direction of the country had hit a plateau--or even begun to slip.

On Tuesday came another, perhaps more troublesome, signal of disenchantment with the president's policies, in a survey of attitudes in the state of Ohio by Quinnipiac University. In the past two months, Obama's overall approval rating dropped from 62 percent to 49 percent. His economic approval rating also fell, from 57 percent to 46 percent (to 48 percent who said they now disapprove).

Earlier this year, when the president's approval ratings dropped, it was largely because of a falloff among Republicans. In the poll of Ohioans, Republican approval of Obama dropped only a bit. More significant was the sharp decline among independents and even a modest drop among Democrats.

Obama's economic approval rating among independents plummeted between May and July, falling from 51 percent to 33 percent. His overall approval among these critically important voters dropped from 59 percent to 38 percent.

The poll of Ohioans also found that men in particular have soured dramatically on the president's leadership, with majorities saying they disapprove of his overall leadership and his handling of the economy.

Ohio is just one state--admittedly a politically sensitive state--and the Quinnipiac poll is just one survey. Much more will be needed to fill out the picture of Obama's presidency. But the shifts are big enough to warrant attention from the president's political and economic advisers.

Administration officials may be right in believing that the stimulus package will kick into higher gear during the remainder of this year and that no further action may be needed. But getting the economy right remains the most important challenge facing the Obama administration.

By Marcia Davis  |  July 7, 2009; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
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Comments

If Obama underestimated the economic downturn that hardly makes him responsible for its severity. That responsibility is on the Bush clan. Following the logic of blame posted here, I suppose the Repubs would have accepted a larger stimulus had the estimates indicated? I think not. This blame game is a pathetic projection onto Obama for the sins of the 8 year reign of the Bushster. I would rather see Obama struggle to correct the economic disaster than endure the fabricated war in IRAQ that got us here in the first place!

Posted by: gregp1 | July 7, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

debmries,

I'd put the fire out.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 7, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

DEPRESSION OBAMA HAS JUST BEGUN

Unemployment will continue to escalate

Obama is about to surrender the US Dollar as the World reserve Currency at the G8 in Rome, Geithner already publicly announced the surrender at the CFR

Stimulus Obama is just earmarks on steroids

Obama attacks business--who hire most Americans with inane taxes and regulations

and Socialism FAILS every time it has been tried.

OBAMA--Socialism, Sloth, Surrender

Posted by: JaxMax | July 7, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Administration officials may be right in believing that the stimulus package will kick into higher gear during the remainder of this year and that no further action may be needed. But getting the economy right remains the most important challenge facing the Obama administration.

---
Anyone with an ounce of intelligence will tell you that stimulus bill was nothing but hogwash - it had ZERO to do with jobs - 100% to do with bigger gov't which will just feed the corruption.

If it was about jobs, why does most of the money get spent in 2011? Because that's right before the next election - people's memories are short they are counting on keeping everyone in misery for 2 years to SAVE THE DAY RIGHT BEFORE THE NEXT ELECTION - WHICH WILL BE FRESH IN EVERYONE MINDS HOW OBAMA SAVED THEM.

Posted by: debmries | July 7, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

After the '92 election Bill Clinton stated that he would not raise taxes on the middle tax. Lo and Behold, after he was sworn in he and his minions stated: "We did not realize how bad an economy we have inherited." Sound familiar? Clinton implemented the largest tax increase, so far, in history. Watch Obamarama do the same. Trouble with Clinton's "exageration" was that the country was coming out of the short recession and rebounded. He (Clinton) did have the grace to admit, some time later, that he made a mistake. Obama never makes mistakes - after all, he is "The Messiah" leading us upward while he deliberately wrecks our economy so that he can make us all drone of his "Utopia." Shades of Saul Alinsky.

Posted by: marine2211 | July 7, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Individualism is fine. It's the collective strength and direction of the country that worries me. I agree with the President when he says that we simply can't stand pat.


Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 7, 2009 7:17 PM

--
So in the words of my father - if he jumped into a fire would you follow him?

Posted by: debmries | July 7, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Of course he got it wrong. Everything about his plan is bad for jobs and the economy. Doesn't anyone remember the 400 point drop in DJIA the day he was elected?

Business owners, Corporations and most Americans know socialism has never worked, overspending doesn't work, big gov't doesn't work.

All his plans have been tried before and everytime failed.

What works? Our original constitution - the best document ever written. We need to get rid of this congress and get the wish of WE THE PEOPLE back in power.

They work for us. We don't work to pay for Congress and this administrations overspending and inflated egos.

Posted by: debmries | July 7, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Okay here's where the stinky Rethugklans are...

SOMETHING YOU FORGOT MORONICS...

Three months ago a poll was taking, asking the American People "How long did they think the economy will stay in a reccession?

MAJORITY SAID AT LEAST TWO YEARS!

Having said that, you can try all those old projective pseudo "psych"....

But the American People are nobody's fool (not anymore Thanks to George Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney).

Obama Administration - has been saying since we started on this down spiral..."It will get worse before it gets better"

NOW YOU CAN WRITE ALL THESE STUPID PROJECTIVE STORIES BUT YOU MUST REMEMBER...

FOOL ME ONCE SHAME ON YOU
FOOL ME TWICE SHAME ON ME!

Bush and Co. with their ditatorship administration broke so many damn rules and I hope soon the Obama Administration or the DOJ start making these creeps accountable for taking all our taxpayers money and poured it into a mis-leading war, Hallibuton and Blackwater...

THIS ECONOMY BELONGS TO BUSH AND OBAMA IS THE ONE WHOM HAS TO WASH SCRUB AND CLEAN!

AND THOSE OF US WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA TO WIN IN 2008 ARE GOING TO TURN AROUND AND DO IT AGAIN IN 2012...

NOW TAKE THAT YOU RETHUGKLANS!!!

Posted by: danson1 | July 7, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

The first Stimulus bill was nothing other than a huge bill of pork. Oh sure, the Pelosi mouse probably has a new "sustainable eco-environment, low carbon" habitat. You remember crap like that in there (if your a democrat of course you don't-no one in your party read the thing) What about all the jobs saved? Oh, wait there is no agency in our government that tracks any metric on jobs saved. BECAUSE there is no metic on jobs saved! Cheesh, Dear Leader. Another silly Obamination lie. But, as mentioned earlier all the political hacks and the far left minions are slopping at the trough. Their payout has been or is being delivered....check out all the new desks and computers at your local ACORN hole!

Posted by: 65apr | July 7, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe MZ has a point. Even if the numbers are sketchy. My problem with this take though, is that it still aims to restore a system that's broke without addressing anything that might move the whole country forward toward anything higher.

Individualism is fine. It's the collective strength and direction of the country that worries me. I agree with the President when he says that we simply can't stand pat.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 7, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Another, really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: hclark1 | July 7, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

charlietuna6661,

You're not really trying, are you? I read that same post verbatim in the comment section of an article about Sarah Palin. I'm so disappointed in you; I expected a much better rant.

3/10

Posted by: Ken_Davis1 | July 7, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The Great One will realize soon that the so-called middle class is going to be hit with a so-called middle class tax boost....even without messing around with the health care thingy, whatever that eventually turns out to be.

Uncle Sam will be fighting with the States over who wields the hammer first on the taxpaying public. Second in line won't be a pretty picture.

Posted by: bandcyuk | July 7, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

mzbond, your calculation is way off as far as the amount of money that could go to an individual or family if you divided the stimulus up.

The US population is over 300 million. So how much of the stimulus could you give to one person?

And why tax-free? Other entities receiving the stimulus might be paying taxes.

Posted by: dnfree | July 7, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Don’t look to China for a recue from this deepening recession. It’s not up to the challenge.

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2009/07/dont-believe-pundits-on-chinas-century.html

The world still waits on the American consumer.

Posted by: JamesRaider | July 7, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

This is wonderful. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress used the original "Stimulus Bill" to buy all kinds of things (most of which were unknown as no-one in Congress read the bill); none of which was apparently for infrastructure. I believe the original lie by the President that investment in infrastructure was the purpose of the Stimulus. It is now obvious he lied. The administration is now claiming it was not enough and that we need to invest in infrastructure. Lie to me twice and shame on me.
It is obvious this President has not a clue other than paying off political debts to his corrupt supporters. This will go down as the great theft in history and this administration will ruin this country's economic place in the world.
Congratulations, President Obama.

Posted by: hkimcraig | July 7, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The Obama Economics Plan bailed out the wrong enities. Obama, as weird as it may seem and not keeping with normal accounting practices, but this would have worked - give each American family, regardless of how many people in the family - one to ???) $200,000 to $300,000 (tax free) to pay off their debts. The banks would have been in less financial difficulty if their borrowers paid them off. It would have save thousands from foreclosure proceedings. The list goes on and on.

Posted by: mzbond | July 7, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

citi_street lives with Micheal Jackson in Neverland if citi believes that the economy, stock market, and jobs have stabilized.

I know a huge local employer that will soon file Chap 11.

Posted by: jdcw | July 7, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The Obama administration has been in office for less than six months! The economic issues had years in the making therefore it's highly unlikely that it will turn around in six months. The financial markets have stabilized with the stocks bottoming out at an average of 8,300 points.

Jobs are a lagging indicator and should start showing signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2010 before the November elections.

Posted by: Citi_Street | July 7, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear that unemployed Republicans have nothing better to do than write nasty comments about Obama. Let's see, if only THEY had stayed in office everything could have been solved by another tax cut for the rich.......

Posted by: bill21 | July 7, 2009 4:50 PM


Very true bill21 other than the unemployed republican part. We are all still working supporting the democrat socialist party members like you. The tax cut for the wealthy is exactly what is needed. Low and middle class people like you just don't have the money to get the economy going. Glad you brought it up.

Posted by: charlietuna6661 | July 7, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

If you have "incomplete information" you would be a complete buffoon to start spouting off to the nation.

__________________________


Obama, in Moscow, tried to modulate the impact of the vice president's words that the administration had somehow miscalculated. "No, no, no, no, no," he told NBC's Chuck Todd. "Rather than say misread, we had incomplete information."

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | July 7, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Written by Obama] .. "As a beneficiary of the excellence of Kapi'olani Medical Center – the place of my birth – I am pleased to add my voice to your chorus of supporters." ==================== HOWEVER, the hospital spokeswoman, Kristy Watanabe says she is not confirming or denying ANYTHING about whether obama was or was ont born at that hospital!!! THAT'S REALLY FUNNY. can you imagine ANY hospital that wont BRAG about being the birthplace of a PRESIDENT???????????????????? this gets more hilarious by the week!

Posted by: charlietuna6661 | July 7, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse


Uh Oh, Barry better get back home and schedule a love fest tour of the White House with NBC or a staged "Town Hall" meeting with his naive cult members....

Tuesday, July 07, 2009:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 33% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-six percent (36%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of –3. Those figures reflect the highest level of strong disapproval measured to date and the lowest level recorded for the overall Approval Index.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | July 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi needs to be replaced, NOW. I think she is screwing up the whole dammm country with her outrageous non-sense.

Posted by: mzbond | July 7, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

And, what this moron doesn't understand is that, even though Americans don't want to borrow more money, they are proposing to borrow MORE money.

What a massive disappointment.

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | July 7, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear that unemployed Republicans have nothing better to do than write nasty comments about Obama. Let's see, if only THEY had stayed in office everything could have been solved by another tax cut for the rich.......

Posted by: bill21 | July 7, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

One question...With the MASSIVE spending on everything, and the MASSIVE taxes that have been either levied or proposed, just when does the economy become Obama's problem and not just a Bush inheritance?

Posted by: bcullum | July 7, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It's not the "shaky economy" that's going to dislodge Obozzo's footing.

It's the FACT that he has not made a single correct assessment or resulting decision since he became POTUS combined with the FACT he has revwersed his position on virtually every major thrust of his campaign.

Gitmo - we're still there.
FISA - it's still in place
G&L community - under the bus
Iraq - We're still there
Auto industry=toilet
Housing = toilet
Financial services sector=toilet

GPD, Housing, auto industry, financial services sector, health care, unemployment; all economic leading indicators are going in the wrong direction and fast.

This moron's solution - more (stimulus) of the same.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | July 7, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Shaky economy? What a cheap shot at our president...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | July 7, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"Did Obama and his team get it right last winter....?"

If I am not mistaken OBAMA and his team were not in power before January 20th, 2009.
Am I wrong?

OBAMA MUST FAIL!
AMERICA MUST FAIL!
OBAMA MUST FAIL!

Posted by: Tomcat3 | July 7, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Who is in charge of foreign policy? The president says one thing concerning Israel--the vice president says another! Just this day -- July 7 -- the president says that the days of a nation ruling with an Army and bullets is over; yet within six hours, missiles are employed on 'insurgents' in Afghanistan! WHERE IS THE SECRETARY OF STATE, AND WHO IS IN CHARGE OF FOREGIN POLICY??

Who is in charge of the economy? Team Obama stated in January that the stimulus was needed to keep unemployment from going higher than 8%! As of end June, unemployment was at 9.5% -- and when you add 'underemployment', the rate rises to over 17%! The Vice President now says that Team Obama 'misread' the economy in January! (NO JOKE!!) The President says that only 10% of the stimulus has been spent. ARE YOU NOW GOING TO BLAME BUSH FOR NOT SPENDING MORE QUICKER?? But just today, another member from Team Obama is calling for .... MORE STIMULUS!!
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=ajQbZ.WrAVwQ

Does Team Obama take the American populace a bunch of total idiots?

The question is: WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE ECONOMY? It appears .....NO ONE!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 7, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey obama; you, obiden, reid and peloski have killed 2,000,000 jobs so far and with your foney programs you will kill another 3,000,000 taxpaying jobs by the end of the Year.
Where in the L is the party of NO-NO-ACCOUNTIBILITY GOING TO GET THE MONEY TO PAY FOR HEALTHCARE FOR THE ILLEGALS.
WHERE ARE THE TAXPAYERS GOING TO GET MONEY TO PAY FOR FOOD AS IT DOUBLE IN COSTS, FOR GASOLINE AS IT DOUBLES IN COSTS, FOR HEATING OIL AS IT DOUBLES IN COST, FOR ELECTRICITY AS IT DOUBLES IN COST UNDER THE DEMOCRATS NO-NO-ACCOUNTIBLITY. IT TIME TO CALL YOUR SENATOR AND ASK THEM IF THEY ARE GOING TO OPT OUT OF THE HEALTHCARE THEY GOT NOW.
ITS TIME THEY LIVE THE SAME WAY WE DO.


Posted by: bobojake | July 7, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

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