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from Tales from the Trail:

Obama focus on policy, not polls – White House

The White House is downplaying several new polls showing President Obama's job approval ratings plunging to new lows along with rising public concern over high unemployment and the sluggish economy.

"The president is focused on the measures he can take...  to address the urgent need to grow our economy and create jobs; to deal with the fact that economic growth is not fast enough and that job creation is not substantial enough," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at Tuesday's press briefing when asked how concerned Obama is about the poll numbers.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Obama's overall job approval rating at a low of 44 percent, down 3 percentage points since July.  More than half of Americans  now disapprove of Obama's job performance and one in three say they're worse off financially since he's been in the White House, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. And a poll by Politico and George Washington University shows 72 percent of voters believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Asked what Obama would say to people who feel worse off now than before he took office, Carney said the president
would tell them: "He fully understands the anxiety that is out there among the American people about the economy, the frustration at the pace of growth, the frustration at the pace of job creation. And that's why he feels it is so urgent to take action now and not to simply say, oh, well, we shouldn't do anything and then let it all be decided next year after an election.

from Photographers' Blog:

Vacation on the Vineyard, without Obama

By Kevin Lamarque

My assignment was to fly on Air Force One to Martha’s Vineyard and cover President Obama’s vacation. Covering is perhaps a misleading term. The term “protective coverage” would be more accurate.

When the President is on vacation, the photo opportunities are few and far between. Days as the “travel pool” Reuters photographer are long, tedious and not necessarily fruitful. The travel pool consisting of photographers, TV crew and reporters is at the ready in case breaking news happens as the President vacations. The pool will also be on hand if the White House actually decides to allow coverage of the President during a rare public appearance. We had a few photo opportunities… a bookstore, a restaurant, a golf course, a bike ride and two statements to reporters (Libya and Hurricane Irene). Total Presidential face time for those photo opportunities…….about 9-minutes out of a 9-day vacation.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

So, Doc, is it a boy or a girl?

Blog Guy, I've heard our elected officials don't earn much, and they have to find ways to supplement their income. Is that true?

Uh-oh, I suppose you're going to ask me about former vice president Spiro T. Agnew, right?

from FaithWorld:

Obama meets Dalai Lama at White House, China sees U.S. interference

(The Dalai Lama arrives to deliver A Talk for World Peace on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington July 9, 2011/Yuri Gripas)

China accused the United States on Sunday of "grossly" interfering in its internal affairs and seriously damaging relations after President Barack Obama met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House. Obama met the Nobel Prize laureate for 45 minutes, praising him for embracing non-violence while reiterating that the United States did not support independence for Tibet.

from Photographers' Blog:

George H.W. Bush: Old school president top in “Class”

George H.W. Bush stood taller than most men throughout seven decades of public service. That built-in surplus of extra inches came in handy at times when used to intimidate his political opponents struggling to stand up to his eye level while left listening below.

And he has always been slender; looking more like a six-foot, two-inch splinter than what you’d expect from a man who woke up to live the impossible dream of occupying the White House and then retiring as the 41st President of the United States.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Tweet tweet

President Barack Obama's Twitter Townhall would have been more interesting if he had answered tweet for tweet.

Instead it looked a lot like an old-fashioned interview except the questions came over the transom on Twitter.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Comfort zones

Senators are talking. The president is talking. But whether they are talking at or with each other is another question.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled a Libya resolution so that senators could focus on debt issues this week, which after all was the reason why they cancelled recess.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Waiting for fireworks

Will we see fireworks in the debt talks next week?

So far the White House and lawmakers have been cranky about the state of negotiations, but no one has actually drawn a firm line in the sand – still hoping for a compromise.

Senators and staff can't be happy about having their Fourth of July recess cancelled next week over debt talks, setting up a perfect environment for tempers to flare.

from Tales from the Trail:

Washington Extra – Not enough

The word is not enough. That was the message from the United States to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who pledged reforms in a speech at Damascus University.

"What's important now is action, not words," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

What could be insaner than to smoke like Speaker Boehner?

Quick quiz: Speaker of the House John Boehner is puffing on a cigarette...

a) in his own back yard.

b) in Ohio or someplace like that.

c) in an airplane lavatory after invoking his Congressional Smoke Detector Disabling Privileges.

d) at a White House picnic.

You're not going to believe this, but he is indeed at a White House family picnic, complete with foot-long hot dogs, a pie-throwing contest, and impressionable children.

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