October 12th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What comes to mind when you hear phrase 'federal government'?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Our federal government has some serious image problems with the American people.
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A new poll shows that more than seven in 10 of those surveyed use a word or phrase that is clearly negative when asked to react to the federal government.

The USA Today/Gallup poll finds the most common descriptions of the term "federal government" include: "too big," "confused" and "corrupt."

And there are lots of other choice words the public has for our leaders, including: bloated, wasteful, broken, mess, complicated, terrible, dysfunctional, disappointing, pathetic, out of control and crooked. And those are just the ones we can say on television.

Overall, 72 percent of the responses about the federal government are negative. Only 10 percent are positive, and 18 percent give a neutral or mixed reaction. This poll includes men and women from all over the country - Democrat, Republican and Independent.

The overall negative opinions of the federal government are consistent with the poor ratings the government gets in Gallup's annual poll on the images of different industries.

In that poll, the government received a 58 percent negative rating, the second worst rating after the gas and oil industries.

Other sectors that got high negatives like the federal government include banking, health care, real estate and pharmaceuticals. Good company.

The dismal opinions of our federal government show yet again how sick the American people are of Washington and the way it operates. It also suggests that the public may be looking for a real change when they head into the voting booth three weeks from today.

Here’s my question to you: What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "federal government"?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm 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.

Filed under: Government
October 12th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

OK when Democrats run against Pres. Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the midterm elections only three weeks away, some Democrats are running scared - from their own president.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/12/art.chris.jpg caption="Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)"]
Take Rep. Bill Owens, who won a special House seat in a conservative upstate New York district last year. He's out with an ad declaring that he voted with "the Republican leader 63 percent of the time." A Democrat bragging about how he's voted with the Republicans.

And he's not the only one. Other vulnerable Democrats have been promoting their votes against some of President Obama's signature pieces of legislation, such as health care and the stimulus bill.

One Democrat's campaign ad goes so far as to show the candidate shooting a bullet through the cap-and-trade legislation. Another uses an ad to tout his support of former President George W. Bush's Medicare plan.

But the Democrats claim this is all good. The lawmaker in charge of keeping control of the House - which is a tall order this election season - says this is actually a sign of his party's strength. Come again?

Rep. Chris van Hollen, D-Maryland, insists the Democrats are proud to have "an ideologically diverse caucus." He says members who voice their opposition to the president are showing their independence on certain issues.

Van Hollen says Democrats have a big tent, and they're problem-solvers. Maybe. But the White House has to be at least a little nervous that Democrats are distancing themselves from the president and some of his key initiatives.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • President Barack Obama