FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
With just about a year to ago until Election Day, the U.S. is a racially divided nation when it comes to President Barack Obama.
Consider this: A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows 61% of whites disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job vs. 36% who don’t – that’s almost two-to-one. For non-whites, it's almost the mirror image. Only 32% disapprove while 67% approve.
For a president who was supposed to symbolize a post-racial America, this is not good news. When Obama defeated John McCain in 2008, he did it with significant support from white Americans.
Exit polls showed Obama won 43% of white voters. That was the largest share of white support in a two-man race since 1976. Among young white voters, Obama did even better, getting 54% of their support. If Obama wants a second term, he needs to win back support from more white Americans in the coming months.
Meanwhile our new poll shows other results that could spell trouble for Obama. Overall, he gets a 46% approval rating, with 52% saying they disapprove.
When you compare that rating with recent incumbents running for re-election, the president ranks only above Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. They both lost their re-election bids. Most incumbents who win re-election had an approval rating above 50% a year before the election.
Finally, the poll shows 54% of the crucial independent voters disapprove of the job Obama is doing.
The president has got his work cut out for him.
Here’s my question to you: Can President Obama win re-election if almost two-thirds of whites are opposed to him?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
It was only a matter of time. It always is.
With Newt Gingrich suddenly rising big time in the polls, his opponents are starting to make an issue of his personal baggage. The tabloid stuff - like the fact that the former house speaker is on his third marriage and is an adulterer.
Politico reports that there's a flyer circulating in Iowa from a group called Christian Leaders in Government.
Among other things, it asks: If Newt Gingrich can't be faithful to his wife, how can we trust him to be faithful to conservative voters?"
Airing a candidate's dirty laundry is nothing new... especially in the primaries in early voting states.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that while there have been several presidents unfaithful to their wives, Ronald Reagan has been the only divorced president. Gingrich has both strikes against him.
Experts say Gingrich will have to address his personal past, but some believe voters won't dwell on it. Like him or not, Gingrich is a smart guy who might be the most capable of the current GOP batch of dealing with the critical issues we face. The bar isn't exactly high.
Plus half of Americans get divorced these days. And if every politician who has been unfaithful left office, Washington would be a ghost town.
But not everyone thinks it's not that big a deal. A columnist at Salon.com writes that Gingrich "committed so many political and ethical transgressions that his baggage has baggage."
Gingrich is twice divorced. He left his first wife after her cancer treatment and he left his second wife for a staffer.
UPDATE: We heard from Newt Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman. She says that Newt Gingrich and her mother (his first wife) were in the process of dissolving their marriage weeks before her mom went into the hospital to have a tumor removed. She says the tumor was benign; there was no cancer. Gingrich Cushman suggests that time and the media have created an inaccurate impression of what really happened.
Gingrich says he expects questions about his three marriages and infidelity. But he insists he's happily married and has reconciled all this with God.
Here’s my question to you: How much will Newt Gingrich's personal baggage affect his run for the White House?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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