April 2nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What's behind Michelle Obama's surge in popularity?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

First Lady Michelle Obama is even more popular than her husband, who has a hefty majority of Americans supporting him. A new Gallup poll show's the first lady's favorable rating at 72 percent compared to 69 percent for the president.

Cafferty: People are drawn to this woman.

Also, Michelle Obama's unfavorable ratings are much lower than the president's - 17 percent for her versus 28 percent for him.

What a difference a year makes... On the campaign trail last winter and spring, Michelle Obama was at times considered a political liability. Some portrayed her as an "angry black woman," while others didn't like the way she talked about things like her husband's dirty socks. And many questioned Michelle's patriotism when she said she only recently became proud of her country.

But all that has changed... Another recent poll shows the first lady's favorability ratings are up 28 percent since the summer. The most striking part of the Michelle "surge" is that she's made the biggest gains among Republicans who viewed her negatively last year.

People are drawn to this woman; she is the real thing, and they get it. They like her focus on children and family, her devotion to her own daughters and husband, her visits to schools, soup kitchens, federal agencies, and her planting of the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt.

Michelle Obama is rapidly moving to displace a couple of the more revered women of our recent past. The British media are positively beside themsevles over Mrs. Obama's visit; and they know something about how to get beside themselves. They are comparing our new first lady to both Princess Diana and Jacqueline Kennedy. Actually, she's cooler than either of them.

Here's my question to you: What's behind Michelle Obama's remarkable surge in popularity?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


April 2nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

New Afghan law might legalize rape

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. has some serious thinking to do when it comes to that democracy we're supporting in Afghanistan. Almost eight years after we booted out the Taliban, the U.S. backed President, Hamid Karzai, has reportedly signed a law which critics say legalizes rape.

A new Afghan law makes it legal for men to rape their wives.

Human rights groups and some Afghan lawmakers say the law legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband by not allowing her to refuse sex, and prevents women from leaving the house without a man's permission.

One legislator doesn't even remember the parliament debating or voting on the law - but the law it is.

Karzai hasn't commented on the law yet, but critics say he only signed this legislation for political purposes as a nod to Shia clerics in the country who control about 20 percent of the votes. Karzai is up for re-election in a few months. And they worry laws like these could erase any gains made for womens rights since the Taliban left power.

Meanwhile Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now says the U.S. is backing Afghan plans to hold talks with moderate Taliban members. Clinton says moderate factions of the Taliban should be offered "an honorable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society if they are willing to abandon violence, break with al Qaeda and support the constitution."

Presumably, they would also renounce raping their wives.

The question remains if there's anyone "moderate" in those parts worth talking to when the official government can pass these kinds of laws.

Here's my question to you: In light of a new Afghan law that might legalize rape, should the U.S. be backing talks with moderate Taliban?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan
April 2nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What's the point of G-20 summit?


World leaders pose for a group photo at the G20 summit today in London, England.(PHOTO CREDIT: JEFF J. MITCHELL/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a distinct possibility that the G-20 summit under way in London will amount to a whole lot of nothing when all's said and done.
As Robin Oakley suggests on CNN.com, there's little chance it can prove to be anything more than "group therapy for a bunch of fingernail gnawing, troubled individuals."

He points out this meeting comes at a time when much of the public around the world is fed up with government in general and has little faith in its ability to solve this economic mess.

If the politicians fail to come up with an agreement - and you can bet they will - it will likely further reduce any remaining confidence in the world's top economies. And, even if they do agree, it probably won't make much of a difference seeing as the G-20 doesn't have a permanent secretariat to enforce anything. As for the meetings themselves, they could just as easily be held using satellite technology and teleconferencing.

Meanwhile, the city of London is tied in knots. The streets are filled with angry mobs, which is costing British taxpayers a small fortune in security, police protection, etc.

Not to mention the costs incurred by all the countries sending heads of state from near and far to attend. President Obama has more than 500 officials and staff with him, including Secret Service, plus all the stuff that has to travel with the president when he goes overseas - Marine One, limousines and on and on.

And when they all get there they spend most of their time meeting and posturing and issuing press releases and posing for photographs and TV cameras - and then they go home. And little or nothing of substance has really been accomplished.

Here's my question to you: When it comes to the G-20 summit, what's the point?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global Image