August 24, 2009: Obama’s Poll Numbers Slip to Lowest Yet & Health Care Reform Debate Continues


President Barack Obama addresses the annual VFW convention in Phoenix, AZ
(President Barack Obama addresses the annual VFW convention in Phoenix, AZ on Monday, August 17, 2009.
Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton)


  • Obama Weekly Approval Average Now 52%, a New Low Approval among seniors, upper-income Americans has fallen below 50%: President Barack Obama’s most recent weekly job approval rating is 52% for the seven-day period ending on Sunday, similar to the 54% reading from the previous week but down significantly from 59% a month ago. His average disapproval rating during the past week is 41%…. – Gallop, 8-24-09
  • Public confidence in Obama drops, poll shows: Fifty-five percent see the nation heading on the wrong track, up from 48% in April. Opposition against a public healthcare option is also up…. The president’s overall approval rating stands at 57%, 12 points lower than its April peak, as disapproval has ticked up to 40%, its highest yet. On specific issues, Obama received more mixed marks. A majority, 53%, disapprove of his handling of the federal budget deficit, and his ratings on healthcare continue to deteriorate. On the economy, 52% approve of his actions, unchanged from June…. – LAT, 8-21-09
  • FACT CHECK: Health overhaul myths taking root: The judgment is harsh in a new poll that finds Americans worried about the government taking over health insurance, cutting off treatment to the elderly and giving coverage to illegal immigrants. Harsh, but not based on facts…. – AP, 8-21-09


  • Gov’t extends deadline for clunkers paperwork: Car dealers will have a bit more time to get reimbursed for their Cash for Clunkers deals after the government extended the deadline for filing applications for the $3 billion government incentives into Tuesday…. – AP, 8-24-09
  • Health-Bill’s Pace Prompts Calls for Delay: President Barack Obama should re-evaluate his push to overhaul the nation’s health-care system and move more slowly, key senators in the debate said Sunday…. – WSJ, 8-23-09
  • Obama’s partisan reasons for ‘bipartisan’ healthcare: Obama needs to woo doubting conservatives in his own party even more than he needs to win over Republicans…. – CS Monitor, 8-23-09
  • The Obamas Arrive at the Vineyard: President Obama and his family arrived here Sunday afternoon, stepping off a helicopter under a clear, blue sky as they opened an eight-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. NYT, 8-23-09
  • Obama Team Lacking Most of Top Players: As President Obama tries to turn around a summer of setbacks, he finds himself still without most of his own team. Seven months into his presidency, fewer than half of his top appointees are in place advancing his agenda.
    Of more than 500 senior policymaking positions requiring Senate confirmation, just 43 percent have been filled — a reflection of a White House that grew more cautious after several nominations blew up last spring, a Senate that is intensively investigating nominees and a legislative agenda that has consumed both…. – NYT, 8-23-09
  • SCENARIOS-Passing healthcare reform in Congress: Democrats in the U.S. Congress hope to pass President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the country’s $2.5 trillion healthcare system amid mounting public skepticism and unified opposition from Republicans…. – Reuters, 8-21-09
  • The Reshaping of the GOP: The Most Fertile Ground for the GOP Is Independents and Young People – ABC News, 8-22-09
  • Ever the optimist, President Obama still hopeful for health care reform: By every obvious measure, health care reform is in deep trouble. But don’t tell that to the optimist in chief.
    In private, President Obama is even more bullish than his public posture – constantly rallying battle-fatigued aides with assurances that victory is inevitable.
    “Don’t get down,” he often tells them, repeating his admonition at a recent White House staff meeting where the frustration bubbled over. NY Daily News, 8-22-09
  • With Smiles, Obama Leaves Capital Behind: President Obama strode across the South Lawn of the White House shortly after lunchtime on Friday, climbed the steps to Marine One and officially opened his nine-day August vacation…. – NYT, 8-21-09
  • US to hike 10-year deficit forecast to nine trillion dollars: US President Barack Obama’s administration will raise its 10-year budget deficit forecast to about nine trillion dollars, up about two trillion from the previous forecast, a US official said Friday… – AFP, 8-21-09
  • Obama’s healthcare messages are backfiring, strategists say: The president’s range of abstract arguments for reform are leaving people confused, some Democrats contend. LAT, 8-21-09
  • Obama May Abandon Effort to Reach Health Deal With Republicans: President Barack Obama is likely in September to end Democratic efforts to work with Republicans on health-care legislation and press for a party-line vote if the stalemate on the issue in the U.S. Senate persists, a person close to the White House said…. – Bloomberg, 8-21-09
  • So what’s up with Obama’s talk about Washington being ‘wee-weed up’? LAT, 8-20-09
  • Analysis: Health care endgame near but uncertain: With hopes growing ever dimmer for a bipartisan accord, White House and Democratic leaders are considering a wide range of strategies for getting a health care bill passed when Congress returns from its summer recess. Some are blunt. Some are complex and technical. All are problematic…. – AP, 8-20-09
  • Ex-DHS chief links politics to terror alerts: Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claims in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet to raise the nation’s terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election…. AP, 8-20-09
  • Bush Official, in Book, Tells of Pressure on ’04 Vote: Tom Ridge, the first secretary of homeland security, asserts in a new book that he was pressured by top advisers to President George W. Bush to raise the national threat level just before the 2004 election in what he suspected was an effort to influence the vote…. – NYT, 8-20-09
  • Kennedy asks Massachusetts to change successor rules: His letter to Gov. Deval Patrick and state lawmakers appears aimed at ensuring another Senate vote for healthcare reform if his cancer keeps him from being there. State Republicans are not impressed…. – LAT, 8-20-09
  • Warning: out of control summer for Obama and Hill Democrats: The 2010 Congressional elections are more than a year away, and much can change between now and then. But here is a troubling straw in the wind for President Obama and his supporters on Capitol Hill. Charlie Cook, one of the most respected political analysts in town (and no relation), has just fired off a memo to readers of The Cook Political Report, commenting that, “the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats.”… – CS Monitor, 8-20-09
  • Why Obama Is a Lame Duck Obama has made himself already irrelevant on many of the issues he ran on in 2008: Just seven months into his term — and 14 months before the 2010 midterm election — and could it be, is President Obama already a lame duck? With his passive management style — which inevitably led to overreaching and heavy-handedness by Congressional Democrats Obama has made himself largely irrelevant on many of the issues he ran on, from health care “reform” to “resetting” our foreign relations. Here are seven signs that Obama’s political suasion is waning…. – Fox News, 8-20-09
  • David Sirota: The Obama Double Standard – Huff Post 8-20-09
  • A Basis Is Seen for Some Health Plan Fears Among the Elderly: White House officials and Democrats in Congress say the fears of older Americans about possible rationing of health care are based on myths and falsehoods. But Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational.
    Bills now in Congress would squeeze savings out of Medicare, a lifeline for the elderly, on the assumption that doctors and hospitals can be more efficient…. – NYT, 8-20-09
  • Latest myth on health reform: HAVING SUCCESSFULLY dispatched the fictional “death panels” from the health reform legislation making its way through Congress, conservative critics are aiming at another mythical target in the bill: “abortion mandates.”… – Boston Globe, 8-20-09
  • Obama team planning to wind down ‘clunkers’ program: The Obama administration is developing plans to wind down the popular cash for clunkers program and could announce by Friday when the incentives will no longer be available…. – AP, USA Today, 8-19-09
  • New Rx for Health Plan: Split Bill: The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes.
    The idea is the latest effort by Democrats to escape the morass caused by delays in Congress, as well as voter discontent crystallized in angry town-hall meetings. Polls suggest the overhaul plans are losing public support, giving Republicans less incentive to go along.
    Democrats hope a split-the-bill plan would speed up a vote and help President Barack Obama meet his goal of getting a final measure by year’s end…. – WSJ, 8-19-09
  • Biden: I Know Bush, and He’s No Obama: Vice president jokes about former administration during a fundraising dinner when he responded to a suggestion that President Bush leaned heavily on Vice President Cheney for guidance.
    “He’s the president, I’m the vice president. We’ve got the pecking order in this administration right,” Biden said. “I know George Bush, and he’s no Barack Obama.”… – Fox News, 8-19-09
  • Obama to preach his healthcare message to religious leaders: The president will address more than 1,000 leaders of different faiths in two conference calls, hoping they will pass on his ideas about the overhaul to their parishioners. LAT, 8-18-09
  • Democrats Seem Set to Go Alone on a Health Bill: Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks…. – NYT, 8-18-09
  • Debate’s Path Caught Obama by Surprise Public Option Wasn’t Intended as Major Focus: President Obama’s advisers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unprepared for the intraparty rift that occurred over the fate of a proposed public health insurance program, a firestorm that has left the White House searching for a way to reclaim the initiative on the president’s top legislative priority…. – WaPo, 8-18-09
  • More Fake Letters to Congress on Energy Bill: Congressional investigators have uncovered five more letters sent to members of Congress that falsely claimed to be from charities expressing opposition to climate change legislation…. – NYT, 8-18-09

ELECTIONS 2010, 2012….

  • Survey: One in five would vote for Paterson: Fewer than one in five voters plan to support Gov. David A. Paterson in next year’s elections, according to a poll released Monday…. – Newsday, 8-24-09
  • Poll: Harry Reid faces formidable foes in 2010: A newspaper poll says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces formidable opposition next year when he seeks a fifth term. The poll, taken last week by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., shows Reid lagging by as many as 11 percentage points against Danny Tarkanian. He had 49 percent to Reid’s 38 percent…. – AP, 8-23-09


  • McCain: Obama must drop health care public option: Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama will have to drop proposals for a government-run health insurance option if he hopes to reach congressional agreement on health-care reform…. – AP, 8-23-09
  • Sunday shows: McCain, Duncan, Mullen, Wen Jiabao – LAT, 8-23-09
  • WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Debunks “Phony Claims” about Health Reform; Emphasizes Consumer Protections: “This is our chance to march forward. I cannot promise you that the reforms we seek will be perfect or make a difference overnight. But I can promise you this: if we pass health insurance reform, we will look back many years from now and say, this was the moment we summoned what’s best in each of us to make life better for all of us. This was the moment we built a health care system worthy of the nation and the people we love. This was the moment we earned our place alongside the greatest generations. And that is what our generation of Americans is called to do right now.” – WH, 8-22-09
  • Obama stands by belief a public option is viable: In an interview Thursday with Philadelphia-based radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, Obama said that “the press got excited and some folks on the left got a little excited” when the administration last weekend made statements indicating that a publicly-run health insurance option was just one of several alternatives.
    Obama said, “What we’ve said is that there are a number of components to health care.” The president also said that “the key is cost control” and that there are any number of ways to reach that objective…. – AP, 8-21-09
  • On defense, Obama woos right, left on healthcare: With control of the healthcare debate slipping from his grasp, President Barack Obama pitched his ambitious plan to conservative talk radio and his own liberal supporters Thursday — and denied a challenge from one backer that he is “bucklin’ a little bit” under Republican criticism…..
    “I guarantee you . . . we are going to get healthcare reform done. And I know that there are a lot of people out there who have been hand-wringing, and folks in the press are following every little twist and turn of the legislative process,” Obama told a caller to Philadelphia-based radio talk show host Michael Smerconish during a broadcast from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room. “You know, passing a big bill like this is always messy.”… – AP, 8-20-09
  • Pelosi: I Can’t Pass Bill Without Public Option: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will be unable to pass health-care legislation in her chamber if it doesn’t include a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers. “There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,” Pelosi said during a press conference in San Francisco…. – Bloomberg, 8-20-09
  • Biden: US closer than ever to health care reform: Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the nation has never been closer to substantial health care overhaul despite “all the shouting and all the political turmoil” of recent weeks…. – AP, 8-20-09
  • GOP Chief Steele Dares Democrats to Pass Health Overhaul On Their Own: Michael Steele told reporters that he thinks if Democratic senators think they have the votes, they should try a tactic that would allow them to get around a bill-killing filibuster without the 60 votes usually needed. “Get it to the floor. Up or down, baby,” Steele said at a news conference at the state GOP headquarters. “Put it on the table. And if you don’t think you’ve got enough votes to get to 60, you’ve got the nuclear option. You’ve got 51.”
    “You want it done? Pass the bill,” Steele said. “But they know it’s poisonous and they know the American people will not tolerate it. They’re scrambling now and they’re beginning to turn on each other because they’ve got a big problem, a political one, and they can’t solve it.” Fox News, 8-20-09
  • Mitt Romney: Liberals given too much say in health care: Romney said that “if the president wants to get something done, he needs to put aside the extreme liberal wing of his party.” Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nod last year, said Medicare and Medicaid already account for virtually half of health care and there shouldn’t be any greater federal role…. – AP, 8-20-09
  • Obama Calls Health Plan a ‘Moral Obligation’: President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans.
    “I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Mr. Obama told a multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis and other religious leaders who support his goal to remake the nation’s health care system….- NYT, 8-19-09


  • Steve M. Gillon “Saving the Obama Presidency”: In his book “The Pact,” historian Steven M. Gillon puts it this way: “Ironically, Gingrich’s revolution may have saved the Clinton presidency by freeing him from the control of his party’s more liberal base in Congress, giving him the opportunity to return to the moderate message that helped him win election in the first place. “It was Gingrich who changed the language of American politics and forced Clinton to play the game on his turf,” he writes. “But it was Clinton who ultimately got the credit and emerged as the decade’s most popular leader.” – WSJ, 8-24-09
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: