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September 22nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

More important for U.S. president to be liked or feared outside the country?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama may not be leaving the country this week - but it's likely his global support will be put to the test during the meetings of the U.N. here in New York and the G-20 in Pittsburgh.

As Mr. Obama meets with world leaders and addresses issues like climate change, the global economy and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East - there's no question that this president is better liked overseas than his predecessor, George W. Bush.

A recent Pew survey finds significant support for President Obama still throughout Africa, Europe and Latin America. Attitudes toward the U.S. are also more favorable in some mostly Muslim countries.

The survey shows America's image has improved markedly in most parts of the world, reflecting global confidence in Barack Obama. In a lot of places - opinions of the U.S. are as high as they were before Bush took office.

But the question may be: Does it really matter? What's changed on the international stage as a result of President Obama's increase in popularity? The answer is - Not a whole lot...

North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Afghanistan and Iraq all still present the same challenges to this country as they did before Mr. Obama won the election.

And - just because other countries may like our president - it doesn't always mean they're going to support his foreign policy decisions.

And the arrest of suspects in a terror plot this past week inside the U.S. indicates the terrorists haven't suddenly decided to lay down their arms and become our friends.

It's nice to be liked, but being president of the United States isn't necessarily about winning a popularity contest overseas.

Here’s my question to you: Is it more important for an American president to be liked or feared outside the country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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November 25th, 2008
04:00 PM ET

Would you rather read a book by Laura or George Bush?

Would you rather read a book by Laura or George Bush?

Would you rather read a book by Laura or George Bush?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

First Lady Laura Bush confirmed to the Associated Press today that she has met with publishers and is planning on writing a memoir.

An executive involved in the meetings with the first lady tells the AP that Mrs. Bush plans to write "a positive book with a minimum of criticism."

If it happens, she will be the next in a long line of former first ladies to become an author. Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush's own mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, have all been published. Books by first ladies have done well and have actually had more dependable appeal than those by former presidents. Laura Bush is certainly more likable than her husband if you believe the polls.

President George W. Bush has recently expressed an interest in writing a book as well, but publishers have apparently told him to hold off. Considering the fact that seventy-six percent of those polled in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey earlier this month disapprove of how President Bush is handling his job, that's not exactly a big surprise.

Here’s my question to you: Would you rather read a book by Laura Bush or George W. Bush?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Laura Bush • President George Bush
November 10th, 2008
04:54 PM ET

How can Bush be most helpful to Obama in transition?

President Bush met with President-elect Obama today at the White House.

President Bush met with President-elect Obama today at the White House.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was a sort of Flintstones-Meets-the-Jetsons moment…President George W. Bush and his wife Laura welcomed President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to the White House.

While Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama went on a tour of the residence, the current president and the president-elect met in the Oval Office.

This wasn't Obama's first time at the White House– you remember the emergency summit in September to address the financial crisis– but it was his first time in the Oval Office.

Despite the fact that he had endorsed John McCain, President Bush has called Obama's victory a "triumph of the American story," and has vowed to cooperate in making the transition from one president to another run smoothly.

Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall in the Oval Office during their meeting?

Here’s my question to you: How can President Bush be most helpful to President-elect Obama in making the transition?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • President George Bush
September 2nd, 2008
04:36 PM ET

Will Bush’s convention speech help or hurt McCain?

President George W. Bush will address the RNC via satellite from the White House.

President George W. Bush will address the RNC via satellite from the White House.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The good news is: Hurricane Gustav spared New Orleans a direct hit. The bad news is: it freed up President Bush to appear at the Republican Convention tonight.

President Bush won't speak in person, but will address the convention by satellite from the White House. Some Republicans were actually relieved yesterday when they found out the president – whose approval ratings are at record low levels – wouldn't be in St. Paul because of the hurricane. They did manage to get rid of Vice President Cheney, who is on an overseas trip. But they still have Joe Lieberman and Fred Thompson on tap for tonight. All is not lost. The president's speech has been shortened, which is apparently due to Gustav and a compressed convention schedule.

It's a hard sell for McCain, who's been trying to distance himself from President Bush. The White House says the president is looking forward to thanking the Republicans for all their support and to "throw his enthusiastic support" behind McCain.

Polls show 80% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. President Bush has been driving that train for 8 years. And John McCain has voted right along with President Bush 90% of the time.

Here’s my question to you: Does President Bush’s speaking to the Republican Convention help or hurt John McCain?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

August 5th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

Book claims President Bush ordered forgery to justify Iraq war

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Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A new book says President Bush committed an impeachable offense, ordering the CIA to forge a letter to bolster his case for war in Iraq.

These explosive charges are contained in a new book, "The Way of the World" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind. He says he spoke on the record with U.S. intelligence officials who said that President Bush was informed in January 2003 that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. The president's response to this information was reportedly "F- it. We're going in." Three months later, the U.S. invaded Iraq using a forged document as its rationale, according to Suskind.

He writes that the White House called on the CIA to concoct the forged letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. It was backdated to before 9/11 and indicated that one of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had trained for his mission in Iraq, according to Suskind. The phony letter, he writes, was designed to prove a non existent link between Hussein and al Qaeda.

Watch: Cafferty: W.H. forged letter?

Meanwhile, that head of Iraqi intelligence, who told British intelligence sources that Iraq had no active nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and no WMD was "resettled" in Jordan with the CIA's help and paid $5 million in hush money, Suskind writes.

Suskind calls Mr. Bush's actions "one of the greatest lies in modern American political history" and suggests they constitute a crime worse than Watergate.

The White House is pushing back hard, calling Suskind's claims "absurd" and describing his work as "gutter journalism" including "wild allegations that no one can verify." Former CIA director George Tenet ridicules the credibility of Suskind's sources and calls the White House directive to forge a letter "a complete fabrication."

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if the White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter in order to bolster its case for war in Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President George Bush • War in Iraq
July 31st, 2008
04:55 PM ET

Judge: Bush officials can be subpoenaed

The House Judiciary Committee voted, 20 to 14, along party lines to cite Rove for defying its subpoena.

The House Judiciary Committee voted, 20 to 14, along party lines to cite Rove for defying its subpoena.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a long history of the Bush administration simply ignoring subpoenas from Congress. Not that Congress has gone out of its way to exercise oversight of the executive branch. But when it does, President Bush just laughs out loud and ignores them, like unruly children who are acting up to get attention.

Well they got the attention of a federal judge. U.S. District Judge John Bates says the president's top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas. Bates says there's no legal basis for the administration's argument and that former legal counsel Harriet Miers must testify before Congress. However, Bates says Miers and others can assert executive privilege during their testimony.

Democrats call the ruling "very good news” and say that Miers, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Karl Rove must testify before Congress. Of course, the White House says it disagrees with the judge's ruling and will decide in the next day or two if it will appeal.

Karl Rove became the latest to raise his middle finger to the legislative arm of our government, when he defied a subpoena to testify earlier this month. The House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to cite Rove for contempt of Congress. But this is only a recommendation; Nancy Pelosi will have to decide whether to bring it to a vote by the full House. And we all know how aggressive Pelosi has been when it comes to oversight of the Bush White House. With Madame Speaker, it's all about politics.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean for President Bush when a federal judge rules his people are not immune from congressional subpoenas?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

July 23rd, 2008
04:51 PM ET

President Bush: 'Wall Street got drunk'

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Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In case you're wondering why our economy is in the toilet, President Bush had the explanation at a closed Republican fund-raiser in Houston last week:

”Wall Street got drunk – it’s one of the reasons I asked you to turn off your TV cameras. It got drunk and now it’s got a hangover. The question is: how long will it sober up.”

The depth of the intellect at the very top of our nation's government is staggering, isn't it? Quite an assessment coming from a reformed alcoholic. The president had apparently requested that those attending the event turn off their cameras, but the comments were recorded and started popping up on Texas news outlets.

The White House grabbed their brooms and immediately began sweeping up after him. They say Mr. Bush was referring to the fact that, "the markets were using very complex financial instruments that had grown up over the years, and when confronted with the shock of this housing downturn, they did not fully understand what the consequences were going to be."

Problem is, that doesn't sound at all like the president saying "Wall Street got drunk." It's that kind of shallowness that has created an appetite in the American public and overseas for someone like Barack Obama.

King Abdullah of Jordan actually cut short his vacation this week so he could meet with Obama. It must be like someone who works in a nursery all week finally getting a chance to have a conversation with an adult.

Here’s my question to you: What do you make of President Bush's assessment that "Wall Street got drunk" when it comes to the ailing economy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President George Bush • US Economy
July 17th, 2008
02:01 PM ET

Congress giving Pres. Bush a free pass?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are fed up with Congress. Why wouldn't they be? A new Gallup poll shows Congress' approval rating at 14%, the lowest in 30 years.

One of the reasons has got to be the legislative branch's refusal to exercise any sort of oversight on the executive branch of government, something they are specifically charged in our Constitution with doing.

In fact, President Bush has learned he can simply thumb his nose at Congress, because they won't do anything about it. So he does… over and over and over again.

Yesterday President Bush claimed executive privilege – yet again – in refusing to hand over the transcript of the FBI interview with Vice President Dick Cheney about the CIA leak case. Congressman Henry Waxman stomped his feet and said he'll move forward with a contempt citation against Attorney General Michael Mukasey. But, so what? Haven't we been here before?

Multiple White House staffers have ignored subpoenas in the last several years, including Karl Rove, former counsel Harriet Miers, Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. And nothing was done to any of them.

Meanwhile, Congress bowed to King George's demands and passed that new FISA surveillance bill, without ever doing anything about the breaking of the law with the old one. They continue to approve more money for the war in Iraq – most recently another $162 billion, no strings attached – despite promising to cut off funding for the war back in 2006.

A new book titled "The Dark Side" by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer suggests top administration officials including President Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others may be guilty of war crimes, but Congress has chosen to simply look the other way. A good lawyer might be able to make the case Congress has been criminally negligent.

Here’s my question to you: Why does Congress continue to allow President Bush to get away with so much?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President George Bush • US Congress
July 2nd, 2008
02:01 PM ET

How should McCain deal with Pres. Bush’s negative numbers?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Many Americans are worried that a John McCain presidency would be just like another term of George Bush.

Two thirds of Americans are concerned that McCain would pursue policies too similar to President Bush according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. 49 percent say they are "very concerned."

This creates a real dilemma for McCain. The conservative Republican base is less than thrilled with McCain as the GOP nominee. And that's where the few remaining people who think President Bush is doing a good job reside.

McCain can't separate himself too much from Mr. Bush or conservative Republicans will tell him to take a hike. But if he doesn't separate from Bush, he's going to have trouble attracting those voters who think President Bush is the worst thing to happen to this country in a good long while. And there are lots of those.

A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll focuses on President Bush's disapproval rating and the unprecedented role it could play in the campaign. None of this is good news for McCain. The survey puts the president's disapproval rating at 67% among older voters, 71% among women and a whopping 75% among independents.

These are all groups McCain desperately needs to have any kind of a chance. One Republican pollster points out that in order for McCain to be elected president, at least one-third of McCain's votes will have to come from people who disapprove of the job President Bush is doing – most of them independents.

Here’s my question to you: How should John McCain handle the problem caused by President Bush’s huge negative numbers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: John McCain • President George Bush
June 16th, 2008
02:04 PM ET

Bush reportedly wants bin Laden captured before leaving office

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Bush has reportedly ordered a final attempt to capture Osama bin Laden before he leaves office.

The Times of London reports that the president has enlisted British special forces to help get the job done. Sources in both Washington and London confirm to the newspaper that a renewed hunt is under way. One source says: "If President Bush can say he killed Saddam Hussein and captured bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place."

British special forces have been participating in U.S. operations to catch the terrorist leader in northern Pakistan, but it's the first time they're crossing into Afghanistan regularly.

Of course, no one knows where Osama bin Laden is. He has eluded capture for almost seven years now. Some experts think he's in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. One Pentagon source says that U.S. forces are trying to push al Qaeda in Pakistan toward the Afghan border, where they'd have a better shot at catching him.

But, the increase in U.S. military action is not sitting well with the Pakistanis. Last week, they were outraged about what they claimed was an airstrike on a border post with Afghanistan that killed 11 of its troops. The U.S. says it's still "not exactly clear" what happened.

Here’s my question to you: President Bush wants Osama bin Laden captured before leaving office. How important is it at this point?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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