President Barack Obama's approval ratings are starting to rise after declining ever since his inauguration, new poll figures show as the country's mood begins to brighten. But concerns about the economy, health care and war persist, and support for the war in Afghanistan is falling.
Greg Craig, the top in-house lawyer for President Barack Obama, is getting the blame for botching the strategy to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison by January — so much so that he’s expected to leave the White House in short order.
But sources familiar with the process believe Craig is being set-up as the fall guy and say the blame for missing the deadline extends well beyond him.
Instead, it was a widespread breakdown on the political, legislative, policy and planning fronts that contributed to what is shaping up as one of Obama’s most high-profile setbacks, these people say.
With unemployment expected to rise well into next year even as the economy slowly recovers, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are discussing extending several safety net programs as well as proposing new tax incentives for businesses to renew hiring.
President Obama’s economic team discussed a wide range of ideas at a meeting on Monday, following his Saturday radio address in which he said it would “explore additional options to promote job creation.” But officials emphasized that a decision was still far off and that in any event the effort would not add up to a second economic stimulus package, only an extension of the first.
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama denounced the war in Iraq and U.S. strategy there, vowing if elected to draw down troops and send them to Afghanistan to address the growing threat from al-Qaida and the Taliban.
"There is no military solution in Iraq," Obama said.
Now, with mounting U.S. casualties in Afghanistan, waning public support for the war and a dire assessment of the situation on the ground by his commanding general, Obama may be forced to decide there is no military solution in Afghanistan, either.
As the unemployment rate climbs, President Barack Obama is trying to make the case that his health care overhaul would create jobs by making small business startups more affordable.
Dismissive Republicans blamed the continuing job losses on Democratic policies and said the president's health proposals won't help.
In his weekly radio and Internet video address Saturday, Obama linked one of his biggest challenges — joblessness — with passage of far-reaching changes to the nation's health care system.
If aspiring entrepreneurs believe they can stay insured while switching jobs, Obama said, they will start new businesses and hire workers.
OK, so it wasn't health care, climate change or war. Still, President Barack Obama's high-profile failure to win the Olympics for Chicago could feed negative narratives already nipping at his heels — that he's a better talker than closer, more celebrity than statesman.
And this could hamper his efforts on the weightier issues.
Despite Obama's fabled charm and powers of persuasion, his in-person plea for Chicago to host the 2016 Summer Games fell flat. It was a hugely embarrassing defeat. His adopted hometown — considered a front-runner heading into Friday's voting — didn't just lose, it took last place, shocking nearly all by getting knocked out in the first round while the remaining three contenders moved on.
The defeat could soon be a distant memory, and may never be more than a quixotic-blip trip. But if, for whatever reason, bigger losses start piling up in Obama's corner, his performance in this case could be regarded as emblematic.
President Barack Obama is confronting a split among his closest advisers on Afghanistan, reflecting divisions in his own party over whether to send in thousands more U.S. troops and complicating his efforts to adopt a war policy he can sell to a public grown weary of the 8-year-old conflict.
With top military commanders and congressional Republicans pushing for a troop increase, Obama pressed key members of his national security team Wednesday for their views during an intense, three-hour session in a packed White House Situation Room.
With much of his party largely opposed to expanding military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama could be forced into the awkward political position of turning to congressional Republicans for support if he follows the recommendations of the commanding U.S. general there.
Congressional Democrats have begun promoting a compromise package of additional resources for Afghanistan that would emphasize training for Afghan security forces but deny Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal the additional combat troops he has indicated he needs to regain the initiative against the Taliban insurgency. The emerging Democratic consensus is likely to constrain the president as he considers how best to proceed with an increasingly unpopular war.
One of President Barack Obama's health care "horror stories" is about a woman who, he says, lost her health insurance on the verge of breast cancer surgery because she didn't disclose a case of acne to the insurer. That's not what happened.
Robin Lynn Beaton, 59, of Waxahachie, Texas, indeed had her insurance suspended and then terminated when she needed it the most. Hers is a cautionary tale about how an insurance company can act in a seemingly arbitrary manner to revoke coverage for lifesaving treatment.
But not for the reasons Obama cites.
She "was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne," he said in one telling.
Increasingly, it is becoming clear that Barack Obama hasn't yet realized he is no longer a candidate for President and he will come to the stunning conclusion that he is, in fact, the President.
Maybe then he will start acting like a President and not a wannabe.
As Obama's stumbles and bumbles become business as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the mainstream media that once fawned over his every move is now frowning at his many missteps.
Richard Cohen of The Washington Post is the latest to face the reality of Obama's failings.