The First Draft: Obama’s bad news Thursday

June 18, 2009

FINANCIAL REGULATION/President Barack Obama woke up Thursday to find two new polls — the NBC News/Wall Street Journal and CBS News/New York Times — showing growing public concerns over the high rate of government spending and ballooning federal deficits.

Meanwhile, his big-ticket initiative to revamp the U.S. healthcare system hit a road bump in Congress, where a key Senate committee slowed its schedule for consideration of the measure in order to find a bipartisan approach to rein in its huge projected costs — more than $1 trillion and counting.

For Obama, the news was a sign, perhaps, that the public is beginning to hold him accountable for the many thorny issues he inherited from former President George W. Bush and becoming concerned about the mounting price tag — the Congressional Budget Office estimates the federal deficit could top $1.8 trillion this fiscal year.

Obama, who had a full day of meetings at the White House and no public events until an evening fundraiser, remains personally popular but has seen his approval rating slip slightly to 56 percent, down from 61 percent in April, according to the NBC poll. Among independents it fell even more sharply, from nearly 2-to-1 to closely divided. He stayed steady at 63 percent approval in the CBS poll.

But Republican criticism might be gaining at least a toehold, with nearly 70 percent of respondents in the NBC poll saying they were worried about federal intervention in the economy, including the government’s ownership stake in General Motors and potential government involvement in healthcare.

Only 37 percent say he is taking on too many issues, with 60 percent saying he was forced to confront a big agenda because the country has so many problems.

Obama said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal he was not surprised the drumbeat of Republican attacks was having some success.

“If you want to attack a Democratic president, how are you going to attack him?” Obama said. “Well, you’re going to talk about how he wants more government and he wants to socialize medicine and he’s going to be oppressive toward business. I mean, that’s pretty standard fare.”

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (Obama arrives for financial regulation announcement)


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We want change, but it is more of the same… the only difference is the speed, Bush was driving us at 45 mph Obama is doing it at 120 mph. The American People is tired of politics both ways. Stop the spending PLEASE. and listen to THE PEOPLE.

Posted by Maria | Report as abusive

Please give him some slack, his tasks are enormous and he did inherit a couple of skeleton filled closets from his predesessor. It takes longer than half a year to bulldoze aside eight years of rubble.

Posted by Nikkei 225 | Report as abusive

I don’t know how we are going to pay back $4 trillion without passing it on to our children. His spending agenda must be turbo charged. If I live long enough my grand children will still be paying this bill or we will become the United States of China.

Posted by DARRELL WINSTEAD | Report as abusive

Americans voted for change, but the only thing that changed was Obama himself.

The same GW Bush policies of endless war-mongering, joblessness, refugees soring, lack of transparency, and broken campaign promises fester.

The poll number, I fear, will continue unless Obama himself changes, too.

Posted by JT | Report as abusive

Is it too early to say TOLD YOU SO?

Obama’s just picking up where Bush left off with the destruction of this nation.

Posted by Alexandra | Report as abusive

BO is not only driving us at 145 mph, but without any safty belts to fall back on. How we can allow a TV Network to report LIVE from the WH, all day next week, is beyond anything I have seen in my short 55 years. Peter Bronston(?) from the San Fran paper, wrote that the news media should be doing more then getting in bed with him. That the news is asleep and should wake up or words to that fact. DUH took over a year for them to kind of wake up.. Had this been Bush taking his wife to New York for dinner, ALL Hell would have been caused, BUT OK for BO and Wife. When the prices at the pump went up last summer, to $4 plus last year, we heard “OH Bush is padding his oil buddies pocket”, so barrel price has gone from 33 to 73 all under BO Watch and YET I have not heard anyone saying “OH BO is padding his rich Oil Buddies Pockets” What a double standard.
They point to rising unemployment. Under GWB the last 3 years it was from 4.5 to 5.5.. YEAH ALL BUSH’s Fault. How Sad. What is really funny, Didn’t Jimmy Carter get the middle east peace plan all worked out back in 77.. THEN why are they still fighting. OH BTW Death To America was first printed in a newspaper in 1963.. WOnder if someone wil blame Bush for that.

Posted by R J | Report as abusive

Well, duh! So now,6 months later,the American electorate is finally discovering that Obama meant what he said when campaigning for the presidency. Six months and 2 billion dollars later and you ain’t seen nothing yet. Hey, you’d better get out your Webster’s Dictionary and look up the word, “socialist.” That’s where Obama plans to take you and the nation.

Posted by Van | Report as abusive

Funny thing is, alot of Obama’s economic policies are a continuation of what the Republicans thought were a great idea until their man got voted out.. Lest we forget who ran up that huge deficit over the last 8 years creating a new government department (Homeland Security, not like we didn’t already have the FBI, CIA, Nat’l Guard) and pursuing 2 wars to the end of oblivion. And sitting idly by while the price of gas went up, and people failed to pay their bills.
So go ahead and blame Obama if it keeps you feeling good, but he’s not the creator of this disaster.

Posted by JC | Report as abusive

GMAC, I mean Ally Bank can not raise money, they will call the Treasury, ask for a (many)few more billions. Why do we keep giving this worthless firm anything. Fold it. Many bank already availible to loan. . . Who cares, fake company, fake bankruptcy, fake about everything, makes me sick. Billions down a rathole. GM , AIG, CITI, andn on and on . . .pitiful and we loose 100s of billions. REAL bankruptcies coming soon.

Posted by asa | Report as abusive

Despite the constant attacks from conservatives, President Obama’s approval ratings still look quite strong.

What’s gone largely overlooked is the numbers for the Republican Party. Consider this tidbit from the same NYT/CBS poll:

“While Republicans have steadily increased their criticism of Mr. Obama, particularly on the budget deficit, the poll found that the Republican Party is viewed favorably by only 28 percent of those polled, the lowest rating ever in a New York Times/CBS News poll. In contrast, 57 percent said that they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party.”

The WSJ/NBC poll added:

“25 percent hold a favorable view of the Republican Party, which is an all-time low for it in the poll. 45 percent hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party.”

CNBC’s Jim Cramer told Joe Scarborough this morning, “I think everybody wishes that Obama would just kind of go away for a little bit.”

That may apply to Cramer and the cast of “Morning Joe,” but given the “all-time lows” for the GOP right now, it’s probably not the president Americans would like to see “go away for a little bit.”


Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

I think that we, Americans, are so impatient about everything. It is true that we lost so many jobs.
We should be patient and give the stimulus some time to take effect. I too am unemployed, but I still believe that the economy will get better, not any worst. We have a group of smart men and women who work with the white house. I have a lot of confident that they will fixed all the problems that the republicans broke for the past 8 years. Republican party does nothing but trying to sabotage everything because they don’t wanted this president to success and they have no shame to say it out loud. what’s ashame.

Posted by keith | Report as abusive

My favorite line in reaction to this news is “We like him personally, we just don’t like his policies.”
True, true.
But hey…why weren’t people looking at his policies more closely before he was elected? Hm? That’s WHAT we elect the President for…to lead the country’s policies!!!
Now I admit, he didn’t have to do much to win an election against the Republican party with its’ incredibly irresponsible spending, but in the first few months of throwing OUR money around, he’s already making Bush look like a skin-flint.
Maria…you said that very well..

Posted by commentator | Report as abusive