O44: health care setback, popular leader

24 July 2009 |permalink | email article

Barack Obama used his fifth full-scale White House news conference of his six-month-old presidency to press the case for overhauling the U.S. health care system. But the pitch lacked the authentic passion of previous pressers.

In trying to reclaim the high ground on the debate which he lost last week Obama inexplicably created hard news by wading into the issue of race, condemning the arrest of black Prof. Henry Louis Gates of Harvard University at his own home, where police were summoned after a false report of a burglary.

But a Gallup survey late Thursday showed that despite Obama’s job approval slipping he remains a popular figure among voters. His favorability rating is 66%, down a point from May and 12 points from his pre-inaugural high. That compares with George W. Bush’s favorable rating of 65% in April 2001. Vice President Biden’s favorability number has slipped below 50%.

What’s stunning is that the gap between Obama and Biden’s favorability (Obama +18) is huge, especially when compared to the differences between Bush and Cheney (Bush +1) and Clinton and Gore (Gore +4).

California dreamin’

In 1937 Woody Guthrie wrote a haunting folksong, “Do Re Mi,” about Dust Bowl immigrants, their experiences and reception, suggesting that the Golden State could not be had on the cheap:

California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot
If you ain’t got the do re mi.

Read ‘em and weep

Asked by the Associated Press whether it was appropriate to display a 2-foot-long knife on-camera using his Twitter account to tout deep budget cuts that are affecting the lives of the poor, elderly, children, college students and government employees, a narcissistic Arnold Schwarzenegger said he shot the Web clip because he doesn’t want to be seen as “El Stiffo,” suggesting that previous governors were less colorful than he is. A strange sense of humor!




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