By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
What a difference four years makes.
When Barack Obama ran for president against Hillary Clinton and John McCain in 2008, he was unstoppable.
He generated the kind of excitement and enthusiasm among voters that is rarely seen in politics. People couldn't get enough of him and his messages of hope, change and "yes, we can."
Four years later, a lot of that optimism and excitement are gone.
"How the mighty have fallen" is how Maureen Dowd describes it in her New York Times column headlined "Dreaming of a Superhero."
"The president who started off with such dazzle now seems incapable of stimulating either the economy or the voters,” she wrote.
The economy remains weak. Friday's dismal jobs report triggered a selloff, and the stock market has now erased all its gains for the year.
As for the voters, a lot of them are disgruntled – including many in the president's own base.
A Forbes column describes how Obama is being left behind by the left wing of his party.
They're frustrated that the president hasn't followed through on key promises like closing Guantanamo Bay, ending the war in Afghanistan or getting tough on Wall Street.
There are anti-Obama e-mails coming from the left that describe a "psychopathic megalomaniac" in the White House and "a cancer in the presidency" – and these are liberals.
Part of this is due to the ugly reality of governing. But you can even see it in the president's campaign events.
There were more than 4,000 empty seats in an Ohio arena that seats 18,000 when the president officially launched his re-election campaign.
That wouldn't have happened four years ago.
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to President Obama, what happened to the magic of 2008?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Everything blue is red again... well, sort of.
Politico reports that the electoral map - which Pres. Obama remade back in 2008 - is returning to its old patterns.
During the presidential campaign, there was lots of talk about how Barack Obama had changed the playing field and put several so-called red states into play.
By winning in places like Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia and the Mountain West, Obama didn't need to rely on states that had decided previous elections, like Florida and Ohio.
Fast forward a year and a half... Democrats are facing some tough races for Congress and governorships in November in these very same states. No doubt Republicans are loving it, with one congressman saying: "One election doesn't make realignment."
But Democrats insist these states that used to be red will be competitive now, although some worry that without Pres. Obama on the ballot, young voters and African-Americans are more likely to sit this one out.
Meanwhile a new poll suggests trouble for any incumbent - red or blue - come the midterm election. And that's exactly as it should be. Vote them all out and start over.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows only 34 percent of voters think most members of Congress should be re-elected; that's the lowest number ever in this poll. 63 percent say send the incumbents home.
As for Pres. Obama, a majority - 52 percent - say he does not deserve a second term in office. The American people are angry.
Here’s my question to you: Why are some of Pres. Obama's 2008 "blue" states turning "red" again?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In 12 days Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. He has huge challenges in front of him starting with the crumbling economy and two wars.
Is the honeymoon already over?
Hopes are high for him to turn things around and indications are that he will. According to a new Gallup Poll 65% of Americans are confident in President-elect Obama's ability to be a good President. This is down slightly from the 70% approval rating he had a week ago.
Last month a CNN Opinion poll found that 82% of Americans approved of how Obama is handling his transition.
Since returning from his Hawaiian vacation, Mr. Obama has encountered a couple of bumps in the road. The situation in Gaza (which he's stayed away from by deferring to President Bush), criticism of Leon Panetta as his choice for CIA Director, Bill Richardson withdrawing his nomination for Commerce Secretary, and official stats that the deficit is projected at more than $1.2 Trillion this year. All this before he's even moved into the Oval Office.
Here’s my question to you: Has your confidence in President-elect Barack Obama declined any since the election?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Barack Obama really didn't need this. Roland Burris declared he's the Senator from Illinois despite the controversy surrounding his appointment. He was picked by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
But when Burris made his way to Capitol Hill this morning, the Senate refused to seat him. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said it's because of incomplete paper work. His certificate of appointment is signed by the Illinois Governor but not by the secretary of state. But it's really much more than that.
Burris said his lawyers will handle it and he has a private meeting scheduled with Senate leaders tomorrow.
He said he didn't want to make a scene on Capitol Hill-but he did. It was a circus.
People are speaking out on Burris' behalf, saying his appointment is legal and he should be seated.
But this whole thing smells. There are criminal charges pending against the Illinois governor who appointed Burris. Those charges include trying to profit from naming Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate. It's sort of like letting Bernie Madoff run a hedge fund while he's awaiting trial on charges of stealing $50 billion from investors.
Our Question is: When it comes to Roland Burris, the controversial Senate appointee from Illinois, what should the U.S. Senate do?
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Roland Burris, the controversial Senate appointee from Illinois, what should the U.S. Senate do?
(PHOTO CREDIT: GALLUP ORGANIZATION)
One of the longest, nastiest, most divisive presidential races this country's ever seen is now in the books. A little more than half of us are pretty pleased with the results. The rest of us? Not exactly.
But that doesn't mean we're without hope.
According to a new Gallup Poll, fewer Americans see the country as divided now as it has been after other recent presidential elections. We're still a long way from all being on the same page, but it's better. After the 2008 election, 57% say the country is more divided on major issues than in recent years. But that's down considerably from polls taken after the previous two presidential elections. In 2000, 64% said we were more divided, and in 2004, 72% said so.
A lot of Americans think Barack Obama is just what the doctor ordered. 54% of those surveyed said the Obama administration will be able to heal the divisions in the country. 44% say it will not.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that fewer Americans see the country as divided?
(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
Barack Obama made history Tuesday night, after voters came out in record numbers to support him and many voting for the first time.
It was a stunning rise to the presidency for a 47 year-old freshman senator, let alone one who is African-American.
Along the way, he beat out a handful of familiar Washington names for the top spot on the Democratic ticket...Former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards, Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Joe Biden who eventually became his running mate and, of course, most notably, Senator Hillary Clinton.
Her star power and powerful ties weren't enough to beat out Obama, but was there something more at play?
Women, who make up more than half the U.S. population, earned the right to vote in 1920. And while African-Americans were granted that right about fifty years earlier, for about a hundred years, voting was easier said than done for blacks. So what does Obama's victory say about us as voters?
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the U.S. elected an African-American president before it elected a woman?
What happened to John McCain? The likable "maverick" who beat some pretty strong competition to capture his party's nomination had morphed into something else by yesterday.
After promising to run an "honorable" campaign, McCain quickly became another symbol of the divisive politics of past Republican presidential campaigns. Name calling, insults, pettiness, and empty gestures replaced the once likable McCain we all look to to challenge the status quo. His campaign got nasty, and his lack of judgment was on display for all to see a couple of times late in the race.
Sarah Palin was an act of desperation. With little vetting McCain named an unknown from Alaska to energize the Republican base. But she came with too much baggage and quickly went from an asset to a liability. Openly ignorant of the issues in press interviews, Palin began to offend women and anger McCain's campaign managers who sniped that she was a "rogue" who frequently went off the reservation in pursuit of her own interests instead of McCain's.
When the financial crisis exploded, McCain made a huge empty gesture. He suspended his campaign, threatened to cancel the first presidential debate-he was the one who wanted all those town meetings, remember? - and rushed back to Washington where he accomplished absolutely nothing. In the end, he looked silly.
He might not have been able to overcome the damage to the Republican brand anyway, but he quickly became his own worst enemy who gave away any chance to win.
Here’s my question to you: What was John McCain's biggest mistake?
Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.
A lot can change in politics in a year. Just think about it. Last year at this time, the race for the White House looked entirely different. John McCain was far from being the front-runner on the Republican side. And Barack who? Senator Hillary Clinton and former V.P. candidate John Edwards had to be considered the odds on favorites for the Democrats.
And, of course, most of us had never even heard of Sarah Palin.
Different issues held different weight with voters and candidates too. In late August of last year, a CNN poll found that 31 percent of voters saw the war in Iraq as the top issue facing America, while 23 percent said it was the economy. Health care came in at 17 percent and terrorism at 10 percent.
Watch: Cafferty: Most important issue?
Flash-forward to this fall and everything has changed. In a CNN poll released Sunday, more than half of voters listed the economy as the top issue - 57 percent– followed by health care and the war in Iraq, tied for second at 13 percent each. Just 11 percent felt terrorism was the top issue.
Here’s my question to you: What single issue was most important to you?
The prescription for tomorrow is comfortable shoes and patience. It's going to be awesome.
Never in recent memory has there been so much interest in a presidential election. More than one-third of Americans are expected to have already voted by the time the polls open tomorrow, a 50 percent increase from 2004. But that doesn't mean there won't be a lot of people in front of you in front of you in line when you get to the polls.
Young people have signed up in unprecedented numbers. New voter registrations have broken records in almost every state. Turnout in many of the primaries was staggering. So be prepared.
Watch: Cafferty: Wait on voting line?
Be aware also that tomorrow is a chance for all of us to strike a blow for democracy, and God knows she could use a shot in the arm. We're at our best as a nation when we're all involved. But that involvement tomorrow will come with a price. You're probably going to have to wait. Maybe for a long time.
While you're standing there grumbling that the line isn't moving, or the machine is broken, remember what it was that got you into that line in the first place. This may well be the most important election we've ever had.
Here’s my question to you: How long are you willing to wait in line to vote?
With only one more day until the election, how will you handle election-withdrawal Wednesday? (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
So what are your plans for Wednesday? A twelve-step program? Maybe a little one-on-one counseling? You know you're probably going to need some help. We all will. There won't be anymore election to fixate on.
What a ride it's been– Historic and interesting. Historic because of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and just when it started to get a little boring, Sarah Palin rode out of Alaska and energized the whole thing all over again. Interesting because we have ourselves quite a mess here: The economy, wars, etc. You know it all by now. Those problems awakened the American electorate like never before.
But Wednesday, the party's over. Except it's really not. For whoever leads us, it's just beginning, and my guess is we will all be called upon at some point to be part of the solution.
But what are we going to do in the meantime? I know for a fact Wolf is going to need help with this.
Here’s my question to you: How are you going to deal with election-withdrawal?
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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