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Most Americans Like Obama, Not His Policies

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President Barack Obama in Atkinson, Illinois.
President Barack Obama in Atkinson, Illinois.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaign roundup: the day's best election 2012 coverage.

Despite his lousy approval numbers and an economy that shows no sign of picking up, President Obama still has one big thing going for him: Americans still like the guy: "Polling consistently shows that the majority of Americans view Obama favorably, even while they increasingly disagree with his job performance. There is a nuance to voter sentiment, pollsters say, one that provides Obama with a path to reelection. But the disconnect between the two numbers, if it ever shrinks, could also become a leading indicator that the president's chances for a second term are headed south." [National Journal]

The EPA has emerged as an prime target for Republican candidates: "The Environmental Protection Agency is emerging as a favorite target of the Republican presidential candidates, who portray it as the very symbol of a heavy-handed regulatory agenda imposed by the Obama administration that they say is strangling the economy... Opposition to regulation and skepticism about climate change have become tenets of Republican orthodoxy, but they are embraced with extraordinary intensity this year because of the faltering economy, high fuel prices, the Tea Party passion for smaller government and an activist Republican base that insists on strict adherence to the party’s central agenda." [New York Times]

George W. Bush loyalists like Karl Rove have criticized Rick Perry – which might end up helping, not hurting, the Texas governor: "Tea Partiers have said repeatedly that they were nearly as turned off by President Bush and his administration several years ago as they are by Democrats in charge of Washington today. If “the Bushies” are already attacking Perry, it may help separate the new candidate further from the 43rd president and lend him more credibility with conservatives." [Real Clear Politics]

President Obama seems to be recycling his "post-partisan" 2008 campaign messaging for the 2012 election – but will it work? "President Barack Obama pitched himself onto the political scene as a man who could rise above partisan politics, and despite presiding over a bitterly divided government, he is starting the 2012 campaign still casting himself as that guy... Mr. Obama's strategy, which harks back to President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election effort, reflects a tough reality for his Democratic colleagues. With Washington bitterly divided, the way for Mr. Obama to win re-election might be if voters see him as above the fray, not a victim or cause of it. It's not clear whether he can pull it off." [Wall Street Journal]

Though his approval numbers may be low and his base disillusioned, Obama still has a friend in organized labor: "Organized labor won't sit out President Obama's reelection campaign and let a Republican win the presidency, the AFL-CIO's political director said Wednesday. Despite the frustration labor activists have expressed toward the administration for the deals it has cut with congressional Republicans, Obama is still a better alternative to a potential Republican president, said Michael Podhorzer, the labor federation's top politics officer... 'The paradigm that has prevailed for a long, long time is that if you're not going to support Democrats, where do you have to go?' Podhorzer asked. 'And certainly the Republican Party is as anti-worker and anti-labor as you can imagine.'" [The Hill]

Even veteran Fed-basher Ron Paul thinks Rick Perry went too far in his August 15 attack on Ben Bernanke: "Presidential candidate Ron Paul, who has long called for abolishing the Federal Reserve, said he now looks “like a moderate” compared with GOP rival and fellow Texan, Gov. Rick Perry, who said it would be 'almost treacherous, or treasonous,' if the central bank increased the money supply before the 2012 election... Referring to Mr. Perry, the Texas congressman told supporters at a campaign event in Concord, N.H., Wednesday that 'He realizes that talking about the Fed is good, too. But I tell you what: He makes me look like a moderate.'" [Wall Street Journal]

Michele Bachmann’s campaign staff has become embroiled in at least five unusually hostile encounters with the traveling media, marked by pushing, shoving and, in one case, a threat of violence: "The campaign makes no apologies for its physically aggressive approach to media management, asserting that it is simply doing what it has to do to protect a popular, controversial candidate. The most aggressive aide — a tall, silver-haired man according to reporters — a spokeswoman said, is a former Secret Service agent who has guarded presidents. He and an advance woman frequently make physical contact with reporters." [POLITICO]


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