The talk of the town for the next few days will be this big piece by Peter Baker in the NYT on President Obama. The piece paints a picture of a despondent administration:
Yet even if the White House saw it coming, this is an administration that feels shellshocked. Many officials worry, they say, that the best days of the Obama presidency are behind them. They talk about whether it is time to move on. While not in the 30s, Obama’s approval rating in surveys conducted by The New York Times and CBS News had fallen to 45 per cent last month from 62 per cent when he took office — just a point above where Clinton was before losing Congress in 1994 and three points above where Reagan was before the Republicans lost a couple dozen House seats in 1982.
Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster, pointed out that even at 45 per cent, the president’s popularity eclipses that of Congress, the news media, the banks and other forces in American life. “We are in a time when the American public is highly suspect of any institution,” he said, “and President Obama still stands above that.” Obama’s team takes pride that he has fulfilled three of the five major promises he laid out as pillars of his “new foundation” in an April 2009 speech at Georgetown University — health care, education reform and financial reregulation. And they point to decisions to end the combat mission in Iraq while escalating the war in Afghanistan. “History will judge Obama that the first two years were very productive,” Rouse says.
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