By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
President Obama has some serious "issues" when it comes to the economy... and that might translate to "issues" come Election Day.
A new Gallup poll shows Americans continue to give the president failing grades on the economy, jobs and the deficit.
The president gets high marks for his handling of "terrorism"– 58 percent... and fair marks on "education" - 49 percent... and "foreign affairs" - 48%. But that's where the good news ends for him.
On immigration, Mr. Obama gets just a 38 percent approval rating... and it's downhill from there.
His worst marks come on "creating jobs" at 37%, the "economy" - 36%, and the "federal budget deficit" - 30%.
It's not hard to see why many Americans feel this way... with unemployment above 8 percent for 42 months in a row now and annual deficits topping $1 trillion dollars.
This poll also shows that the president's ratings on the economy are much worse than those of prior two-term presidents.
President Obama's 36% approval on the economy compares to 46% for George W. Bush, 54% for Bill Clinton and 50% for Ronald Reagan.
The bottom line here is millions of Americans continue to suffer under a weak economy, and if they don't get the sense that President Obama is improving their economic lives, it might be a tough sell come November 6th.
Here's my question to you: Should failing grades on the deficit, jobs and the economy cost President Obama a second term?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
When opportunity knocks, it's a good idea to answer the door, especially if you want to be elected the next president.
Last week, President Obama announced that illegal aliens under the age of 30 who have been here since before they were 16 would no longer be deported and would be eligible to apply for work permits if they meet certain requirements.
In doing so, the president handed Mitt Romney a golden chance to score some points with the beleaguered middle class.
With millions of American citizens out of work and unemployment at more than 8%, it was a gift to Romney. But instead of pointing out these things and suggesting that the few jobs being produced should go to American citizens, Romney was silent. Instead of saying immigration is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with, but not at the expense of giving American jobs to illegal immigrants, Romney was silent.
Instead of pointing out that Obama was violating immigration laws and instead is making his own laws when it comes to illegal immigrants, Romney was silent.
In fact, he was given a second chance Sunday by Bob Schieffer on CBS's "Face the Nation," where he was asked five times about this issue. But the best he could do was refuse to answer, dodging the question in the best political tradition.
If Romney wants to be the next president, he should start speaking out for the rule of law and on behalf of American citizens, especially when the choice is as clear as Obama made this.
Here's my question to you: Why is Mitt Romney refusing to answer questions on Pres. Obama's new immigration policy?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"President Obama's Watergate" is how some critics describe the growing controversy over the "Fast and Furious" gun walking program.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants Attorney General Eric Holder to appear before his committee early next year. Issa says the hearing will focus on what Justice Department officials should have done to stop the program.
Operation Fast and Furious started in 2009 and allowed illegally purchased guns to "walk" from Arizona gun stores over the border to Mexican drug cartels. The program was meant to monitor the flow of weapons, but it went horribly wrong.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of weapons went missing... and they've been linked to the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans along with U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
In light of the botched operation and what some see as the Justice Department's botched response, dozens of leaders are calling for holder to resign. More than 75 House members have signed a resolution expressing "no confidence" in his leadership.
Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner suggests this scandal is President Obama's Watergate. He writes there's been systematic coverup, and that Holder and his aides are guilty of high crimes including perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Kuhner believes this is even worse than Watergate, since no one died during the scandal that brought down Pres. Nixon.
For his part, Holder insists he's not going anywhere. In testimony before the Judiciary Committees earlier this month, Holder acknowledged mistakes were made but said he won't resign. He also said he doesn't think any of his top aides should step down.
Holder played the race card in an interview with the New York Times. He said some of his critics are motivated by racism, since both he and President Obama are black.
Here's my question to you: Could "Fast and Furious" eventually become President Obama's Watergate?
While the Democrats wait to see whether President Obama faces off against Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich come November, a lot of them think Gingrich would be easier to beat. They may be very wrong. The latest CNN-Opinion Research Corp. national poll has them tied at 28%.
But as one Democratic adviser tells Politico: "Romney is playing not to lose, and Newt thinks he has nothing to lose."
Sure, Gingrich has his weaknesses and his dirty laundry: like his lack of discipline, no campaign infrastructure, his infidelities and three marriages, and the $1.6 million he took from Freddie Mac.
But when you get past all that, what you have is a more dangerous, talented and unpredictable rival than Romney.
Politico points to several reasons why team Obama should not take Gingrich for granted:
- For starters, Gingrich is smart. Very smart.
While Romney is no dummy, Gingrich knows his stuff. Gingrich has risen to the top of the Republican pack mostly based on his dominant debate performances. He has even offered to debate Obama, saying the president could use a teleprompter.
- Next, Gingrich fires up the base. He leads Romney when it comes to support from self-described conservatives. And Gingrich can reach out to the GOP’s wealthy donors while still taking swipes at Washington.
- Then there's Newt's mouth. Republicans love the way he attacks Obama. True, there's always the chance he'll go too far, come off as arrogant or self-destruct.
- Finally, Gingrich would be harder to target on Medicare or immigration, since his policies are more moderate than Romney's.
Here's my question to you: Should President Obama be more afraid of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Here's something that ought to keep President Obama up at night: No president since FDR has won re-election with unemployment over 7.2%.
The unemployment rate may have dropped to 8.6% in November, but the picture isn't nearly as rosy as the White House would like us to believe.
Yes, it's the lowest it's been since March 2009, and it's getting closer to the 7.8% rate we had when Obama took office, but that's where the good news ends.
This job market still has a long way to go to recover from the financial crisis. A very long way.
In total, 8.8 million jobs have been lost since the recession started, and fewer than a third of those have been recovered.
More than 13 million people are still unemployed, and 43% of them have been out of work for more than six months.
Plus the current unemployment rate of 8.6% isn't even as good as it seems. That's because a big part of the rate decrease is due to more than 300,000 discouraged workers giving up entirely on their job searches and simply dropping out of the workforce. It's not due to job creation.
Speaking of job creation, employers added only 120,000 jobs in October. That's well below what economists say is needed just to keep up with population growth.
So numbers aside, the job outlook remains pretty bleak. Add in the disastrous housing market and the European debt crisis, which could pull our economy down even further, and Obama has his work cut out for him.
A recent CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows only 15% of Americans say economic conditions are good. Six out of seven people say conditions are poor, with a majority saying "very poor."
Here's my question to you: No president since FDR has won re-election with unemployment over 7.2%. Is President Obama doomed?
(PHOTO CREDIT: JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
President Obama should drop Joe Biden and put Hillary Clinton on the ticket with him if he runs for re-election in 2012.
It's an idea that's getting lots of attention these days... despite the fact that the election is still more than two years away.
This all heated up after a piece on Politico.com this month by former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder. He says as Secretary of State, Clinton has been nothing but a team player. Wilder says she's been tough and commanding when necessary... as well as graceful and diplomatic. He then compares her to Biden, who as Vice President has continued to make his infamous gaffes.
Wilder also points out that Clinton might be able to help the President win key voting blocs, like middle class Independents and working class voters.
Since the Wilder piece, the idea is popping up all over, from the pages of the Wall Street Journal to Time magazine, AOL's Politics Daily and The Daily Beast.
Some suggest Clinton and Biden should swap roles as Secretary of State and Vice President... while others argue that putting Clinton on the ticket will give Pres. Obama the best shot at re-election.
And then there's the whole notion of President Obama creating yet another historic ticket - with the first female vice president.
As for The White House - it quickly shot down this idea, insisting Joe Biden will continue to be a "trusted partner" for the president.
Of course, this could be a moot point if Mrs. Clinton decides to make another run at the top job.
Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama drop Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton as his running mate in 2012?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Clinton and Obama exchange comments during the Democratic Presidential Primary Debate in 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
It could be the greatest of rematch of all time.
Hillary Clinton and Pres. Barack Obama nearly tore the Democratic Party apart two years ago. What if they go at it again in 2012?
A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a favorable rating of 61 percent and an unfavorable rating of 35 percent...
Clinton's numbers have improved since the 2008 primaries... and she fares better than Pres. Obama, who gets a 57 percent favorable rating; but his job approval rating is below 50 percent in most of the major polls. Obama's unfavorable rating of 41 percent has more than doubled since early last year.
There's more: Clinton's numbers also top all other Democrats and Republicans in this poll... including potential GOP presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.
Clinton insists she's "absolutely not interested" in running again for president... although she has suggested that she doesn't envision serving as Secretary of State in a second Obama term.
Of course a lot can happen between now and 2012... including whatever Pres. Obama does or doesn't accomplish in the remainder of his term. If the economy recovers and the jobs come back, he could be tough to beat. But as of right now, one survey shows a majority of Americans don't think the president deserves a second term.
And when it comes to politics, it's probably wise never to count a Clinton out.
Here’s my question to you: Should Hillary Clinton challenge Pres. Obama in 2012?
From CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Sometimes things work out the way they're supposed to. Today is Martin Luther King Day, a holiday set aside to honor the slain civil rights leader. Without him, tomorrow would never have happened. Tomorrow Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. The first African-American president we've ever had.
Martin Luther King would be 80 if he were alive today.
It's been almost 46 years since Dr. King, who would be 80 if he were alive today, led the march on Washington and delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. From segregation, lynchings, water cannons and police dogs to the Oval Office in less than half a century. Dr. King would be very proud.
According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 49% of Americans believe the U.S. has fulfilled Martin Luther King's vision laid out on that day: 69% of African-Americans and 46% of Whites.
A lot is riding on Obama. He is making history in a way his predecessors have not. Not since the late John F. Kennedy has so much hope been placed at the feet of one man by so many. It's going to be a helluva ride, and if Barack Obama can pull this off, our country is going to re-emerge from eight years of winter.
Here’s my question to you: If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what would he say about Barack Obama’s inauguration?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Reality is sinking in for President-elect Obama as he comes to terms with the fact that all of his campaign promises can't be accomplished right away, some of them not at all.
What are you willing to do?
It's a matter of priorities, political maneuvering and money.
The economic crisis is so serious that raising taxes on the wealthy, giving homeowners a 10% tax credit, and not running up debt for future generations are all going to have to wait, at least for now.
Obama is expected to be the President of change but at the moment things need fixing.
On the campaign trail, Obama said fixing the economy would be a priority. Since then the situation has gone from bad to worse.
The President-elect is desperately trying to get support for an emergency stimulus package before he's even sworn in.
President-elect Obama has made it clear that everyone must step up to the plate. He's asked Americans to, "embrace a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice."
Here’s my question to you: President-elect Obama has called on us to make sacrifices for our country. What are you willing to do?
President-elect Barack Obama was asked if he plans to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate certain Bush administration policies, most notably, wiretapping and torture.
In an interview on ABC, Obama seemed to waiver on an answer. You may remember that as a candidate he condemned these practices and called them unjustified. Now he said he hasn't decided what he'll do.
What should he do?
The President-elect said he's not likely to launch a broad investigation into treatment of terrorism suspects and eavesdropping under the Bush administration. But He did say that prosecutions will proceed if the Justice Department finds that laws were broken.
President-elect Obama said it's more important to look forward than back. Is it?
Mr. Obama is walking a fine line. He's trying to establish trust and make friends at the CIA and with conservatives in Congress. Both groups oppose an investigation into the Bush practices. But there is also pressure for the Bush administration to be held accountable, and there's already a measure in the house to create a commission to investigate detention and interrogation techniques under the outgoing administration.
Here’s my question to you: What should President-elect Barack Obama do when it comes to a broad investigation of Bush administration policies such as eavesdropping and torture?
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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