Bureau Chief, Washington, Washington, DC
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Aug 24, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Slipping poll numbers

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It’s more bad news for President Barack Obama with the release of our latest Reuters/Ipsos national poll today. The headline number is that, for the first time since he took office, more Americans now disapprove of his performance than approve. After a long period where his approval rating was stable at just over 50 percent, the last three months have seen a steady deterioration, matching the economy’s faltering performance.

Just like Ronald Reagan in 1982, Obama’s mid-term poll ratings are suffering from the economy’s woes. Faith in Obama’s ability to tackle the crisis was a key factor that swung the presidential race his way in 2008, but his performance on the economy is fast becoming his Achilles heel in the face of a concerted Republican assault. As Ipsos pollster Cliff Young told us, many voters had long been giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, but now patience has “basically vanished.”

Last month’s Reuters/Ipsos poll found Obama’s approval rating for his economic leadership was lower — and was deteriorating faster — than on any other issue.  This month’s poll gives some more clues as to why this is the case. Unemployment and government spending topped voters’ economic concerns, with 72 percent and 67 percent of respondents saying they were very worried over those issues respectively.

Aug 24, 2010

Analysis: Voters favor lower spending to close deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Faith in President Barack Obama’s prescriptions to drag the economy out of recession appears to be falling as the Republican message hits home among voters, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

Voters are concerned about high levels of government spending and the deficit, but are not keen on administration plans to let tax cuts for the rich expire this year to help close the fiscal gap.

Aug 24, 2010

Analysis – U.S. voters favour lower spending to close deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Faith in President Barack Obama’s prescriptions to drag the economy out of recession appears to be falling as the Republican message hits home among voters, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

Voters are concerned about high levels of government spending and the deficit, but are not keen on administration plans to let tax cuts for the rich expire this year to help close the fiscal gap.

Aug 11, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Fears of economic stagnation

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Fear returned to global financial markets today, with stocks sinking and the dollar rising sharply on renewed worries about an economic slowdown in China and the United States. President Barack Obama met with senior economic adviser Larry Summers and “talked through some scenarios” on what was playing out around the globe, and how to keep the U.S. recovery on track.

Obama, signing a bill meant to boost U.S. manufacturing, said he was determined to do everything possible to hasten the economic recovery. The problem is – how much more can he do?

Aug 10, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Tragedy in Alaska

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There were three big stories competing for our attention in Washington today. The first was the tragic death of former Senator Ted Stevens in a small plane crash in his home state of Alaska. Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator ever, was on a fishing trip with Sean O’Keefe, the North American chief of European aerospace giant and Airbus maker EADS, who was among the survivors.

Dominating eyeballs in the financial markets was the Federal Reserve’s surprise decision to move back in the direction of what it calls “quantitative easing.” The Fed will use cash from maturing mortgage bonds it holds to buy more government debt. So for now, there is no more talk of an “exit strategy” from the extraordinary monetary stimulus the central bank delivered during the financial crisis. It is a significant policy shift for the Fed, and a sign it does not view the recent slowing in the economy as simply a soft patch.

Aug 9, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – In the heart of Texas

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President Barack Obama took his attack on the economic policies of George W. Bush to his predecessor’s home state of Texas today, at a pair of Democratic fundraisers.

But even as he hits the campaign trail in earnest,  we wonder how much use the president will be in boosting the electoral fortunes of his own party in November’s elections. For sure, the president will help enormously to bring in the bucks, but how many votes will he corral as well?

Aug 5, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra

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As the administration focuses on Iran, we take a look today at the fallout – a disturbing deterioration in relations between the United States and Brazil.

Our exclusive report from Washington and Brasilia describes how a row over Iran has pushed relations between the two Western hemisphere economic giants to “rock bottom.” The fallout from Iran remains worse than either side will acknowledge publicly, and there is a real risk of a longer-term drift that could threaten trade and business ties. “They’re in the freezer,” was how an upper-level source in Brasilia characterized relations.

Jul 30, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Obama takes the wheel

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Second quarter GDP data gave us more evidence that the recovery is slowing, with the pace of consumer spending easing. True, business spending picked up, but analysts said cash-flush companies were merely making up for ground lost during the recession. There was a big rise in inventories too, a worrying sign if businesses have too much stock in warehouses and on shelves, and people just aren’t buying.

Outside Washington, Obama took his “recovery summer” campaign to car factories in Detroit, where he patted himself on the back for keeping the plants open and saving jobs. In what is sure to be a major theme in the run-up to the November elections, he riffed on the theme of Republicans as the “Party of No.”

Jul 29, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Obama’s BlackBerry 10

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Tempers ran high in the Senate today as Republicans blocked a $30 billion Democratic plan to help community banks boost lending to small businesses. Democrats are fast running out of time to show they are doing something to cut unemployment ahead of November’s elections, but this is just the latest bill to founder on objections from Republicans and some centrist Democrats, who argue extra spending should be covered by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

This time Republicans complained they were shut out of the amendment process and that a billion dollars of agriculture spending had been attached to the legislation. Mindful that voters think his administration is not doing enough to create jobs, Obama had been calling for the Senate to pass this bill, and he will likely be dismayed by this latest setback.

Jul 28, 2010
via Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Immigration and more

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A victory for the administration, but another pyrrhic one?

A judge in Phoenix blocked key parts of Arizona’s immigration law just hours before it was to take effect today, supporting a legal challenge from the Justice Department. The decision is likely to boost Obama’s standing among Hispanics, who have been disenchanted by his failure to keep his promises on immigration reform. But just like the president’s victories on healthcare and financial reform, this looks like another triumph which may take some selling to the American public. Not only will Obama’s Republican and Tea Party foes be further energized, but opinion polls show Arizona’s law was supported by most Americans.

Elsewhere, New Jerseyites in the newsroom were disappointed today that Obama only ordered half a Super Sub at Tastee’s famous sandwich shop in Edison. “When I was 20, I could order a 12-inch,” the president said. “I’m turning 49 next week, which means just a half.”

    • About Simon

      "Simon is Washington Bureau Chief for Reuters and author of the Reuters Washington Extra newsletter and blog, a daily look at political and economic news from the capital. He has 18 years experience covering politics, economics and financial markets for Reuters for text and television all over the world, including in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. Before arriving in Washington, he spent seven years as Reuters bureau chief in Pakistan, Afghanistan and then India, and is the editor of Foreign Correspondent: Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia, which was published by Penguin India in 2008 and ..."
      Joined Reuters:
      1992
      Languages:
      French, Spanish
    • More from Simon

      Publications:
      Foreign Correspondent: Fifty Years of Reporting South Asia
      Penguin, 2008
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