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The Rundown

8 a.m. ET: President Obama's No. 1 priority for his first term, health care reform, has gotten off to a halting start in the Senate. His next major goal, climate change legislation, is even further from completion. And there's little indication that the major financial regulatory overhaul the president unveiled yesterday is anywhere near reaching his desk. With those initiatives and others pending, is Obama's window for major legislative action beginning to close?

That's the question raised by a pair of new surveys, both of which show overall support for Obama's policies slippling. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found small but measurable drops in Obama's approval rating and his handling of the economy. "These rising doubts threaten to overshadow the president's personal popularity and his agenda, in what may be a new phase of the Obama presidency," the Journal suggests in its dramatic write-up of the poll, while MSNBC quotes pollster Peter Hart saying: "There is no more smooth sailing for the administration. They are going to have to navigate in pretty choppy waters.”

The New York Times/CBS News poll reached similar conclusions, finding that the public is increasingly concerned about the budget deficit and that fewer than half of respondents approve of Obama's handling of health care and the auto industry. So is Obama's presidency really slipping away? The situation doesn't appear quite that dire. The NYT/CBS poll still puts Obama's approval rating at 63 percent, and his overall poll average has barely budged in two months. Also on the bright side for the White House: The WSJ/NBC survey found just "25 percent hold a favorable view of the Republican Party, which is an all-time low for it in the poll." So even if the public is wary of Obama's policies, it isn't exactly rushing out to embrace the opposition.

Still, Obama does have his work cut out for him, particularly on health care. The Senate Finance Committee postponed its markup of reform legislation yesterday, while the HELP committee engaged in partisan bickering. Neither panel has a plan that appears anywhere near complete, and Democrats are scrambling to cut the cost of their proposals. The idea of taxing employer health benefits faces a particularly tough road, with Republicans reflexively opposed to the concept and major unions now signaling that they would fight hard against such a proposal.

Obama unveiled his plan for a financial regulatory overhaul yesterday, which was not welcomed by Wall Street. A pitched battle awaits the president on Capitol Hill if he is serious about getting his proposals signed into law. Which raises the question: When exactly does Obama expect Congress to consider his plan? Obama has already asked the House and Senate to complete both health care reform and climate change legislation this year -- a tall order -- and they have to consider the usual slate of appropriations bills. It may be several months before the Hill would have a serious chance to take this up, and by then who knows what the state of the economy will be. The ground may shift beneath Obama's plan before it ever gets written into legislative language.

In the Senate, the disintegration of John Ensign's career continued Wednesday, along with a curious dynamic -- as his future prospects dim, they become much brighter in memory than perhaps they ever were. The Los Angeles Times says Ensign "was supposed to help lead the GOP back to viability." He was? And while Ensign did go to Iowa recently and was at least toying with the idea of a presidential run, his White House aspirations were in the most nascent stages and probably not known to the vast majority of Republican voters. But the longer the fall, the better the story.

If Ensign wants to figure out what to do next, perhaps he can learn from the example of John Edwards. The North Carolinian granted an extended interview to Alec MacGillis of The Washington Post, though he wouldn't talk about his affair or whether it produced a child or the federal investigation or the state of his marriage or any of the other stuff that probably most interests readers. But he did talk about his desire to continue his fight against poverty, though MacGillis points out in the story that Edwards hasn't followed through with some past commitments to help the downtrodden.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 18, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Did anyone happen to notice that this new poll showing Obama with 63% Approval happens to also give DEMOCRATS A 14 POINT SAMPLING ADVANTAGE in the survey?

Please also keep in mind that Gallup just announced that Conservatives now make 40% of the electorate vs only 21% Liberals.

So, since this survey has only 24% Republican Representation, we have to assume that the remaining 16% of Conservatives in this poll MUST be Democrats!

Who knew that the Democrat Party was now a bastion of Conservatism!? Or maybe not. Maybe this poll's sample is horribly skewed to favor Obama like all MSM agenda-based polling?

The last time this poll was run, the Democrats were thrown an 18% advantage! Where are they polling, Queens?

Posted by: mitchellvii | June 18, 2009 11:38 AM

"When you see the abuse of power, you've got to speak."

-- VP candidate Joseph Biden, Aug. 27, 2008, Democratic National Convention


Bush-Cheney human and civil rights abuses continue...





And federal citizen volunteer programs fund the "community gang stalkers" who are terrorizing their neighbors as police look the other way...

...harassing, vandalizing, destroying their livelihoods as their health is degraded by widely-deployed microwave radiation ("directed energy") weapons -- the long-anticipated (and feared) weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum.

And Congress and the mainstream media are largely unaware.

A parallel array of federal "programs of personal financial destruction" slowly decimate the family finances of "target" families -- surely a factor in the mortgage meltdown that precipitated the global financial crisis.

And Congress and the mainstream media are largely unaware.

When victims complain, they are told there is "nothing to investigate."

True -- because federal and local authorities KNOW ALL ABOUT IT.

Will Congress, the national press corps, and Team Obama wake up and realize that democracy and human rights are being stolen at the GRASSROOTS?


OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):


Posted by: scrivener50 | June 18, 2009 12:17 PM

Obama mistakenly took a jail break/bumrush approach to his legislation, in that he apparently assumed that in a "crisis" he could advance on all fronts at once and just overwhelm everyone with data. There's a reason he's on TV practically 24-7. While this approach had some "success" in its early phases, such as the passage of some truly terrible stimulus packages, it has bogged down as the true overall scope has become more apparent. Obama may have assumed while some initiatives would fail, most would get through out of sheer momentum, but his success % may well be a lot lower than his aides projected.

Posted by: zippyspeed | June 18, 2009 12:31 PM

On a brighter note, he did manage to kill the DC school voucher program. I mean, if we are going to recover from this financial crisis we can't have educated, happy kids running around DC. The spoiled kids in this program should have to be subjected to the same gunfire as their peers, even if it does cost twice as much to babysit them in a public school rather than teach them in a private one. Bravo Obama!! Well done sir, well done indeed!

Posted by: stout77 | June 18, 2009 1:05 PM


Coward liar Barack HUSSEIN Obama "Apologist in chief", how can he keep his nonsense promise during his campaign, that is, negotiating with U.S. enemies such as North Korea and Iran, which have never respected any treaty with U.S., especially when North Korea just launched many missile and nuclear tests and planned to fire missile toward Hawaii, not mentioning illegally arrested and sentenced two American journalists Laura Ling and Eunu Lee to twelve years of labor, while Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an extremist who called for Israel to be wiped off the map and denied the holocaust, was just re-elected by fraud. Is Obama going to bow to Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejas as he did to King Abdulla of Saudi Arabia to gain his peace deals? Is he willing to convert to Islam, his Kenyan father and Indonesian step father's religion, to meet Osama Bin Laden's requirement that in order to end the Iraq war, U.S. troop withdrawal is not enough, Americans must reject their democratic system and embrace Islam? Just recently, Obama said that he would support Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections, giving a green light to Teheran's ambituous uranium enrichment program, which can be used for its discreet nuclear bomb development program as well, without suffering sanctions and economic isolation as it currently endures. Does Obama want Iran to become another North Korea using its nuclear power to terrorize the U.S and its allies? Worst still, Obama refused to show support for pro-democracy protesters and denounce the brutal regime for the deaths of seven demontrators, fearing to be seen as interfering in Iran's internal affairs so that he could not pursue a nuclear deal with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader. In fact, Obama sided with the regime, citing that there was not a bit of difference between the two candidates, a moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi and hardcore extremist Ahmadinejad. As a big mouth for change at home, he does not want to see any change in Iran. Is he going to turn a blind eye to another Tianamen Square massacre committed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard? As for a Palestinian state demanded by Obama, it will undoubtedly soon become a TERRORIST state under control of terrorist militant group Hamas, which is the most powerful and popular force with its goal to destroy Israel and which won a majority seats in the current Palestinian National Authority in 2006 election and ousted Fatah militant group of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas of Gaza in 2007. Last but not least, Obama ordered to stop waterboarding tactic used by CIA, even it worked well on terrorist suspects like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-describer planner of 9-11 attacks who provided CIA with valuable information, preventing more 9-11 attacks and saving thousands of American lives.

Posted by: TIMNGUYEN1 | June 18, 2009 4:44 PM

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