What does it mean for Mitt Romney if he's less popular than George W. Bush ?
October 1st, 2012
04:53 PM ET

What does it mean for Mitt Romney if he's less popular than George W. Bush ?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's something that ought to give Camp Romney heartburn.

There's a poll out that finds the Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, is less popular than George W. Bush.

This Bloomberg News survey shows the former president with a favorability rating of 46% compared to 43% for Romney.

Bush gets an unfavorable rating of 49%. Romney gets 50%.

Bush's favorables are also higher than Joe Biden, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party.

It's well-known that Romney's favorability numbers are lower than President Obama's. Many believe Romney - the mega-rich businessman who once tied his family dog to the roof of his car - just can't connect with a lot of voters; but less popular than George W. Bush?

For starters Romney and his campaign have done everything in their power to try to make Americans forget about George W. Bush and his eight years in office. Romney avoids mentioning the former president's name, and Bush was nowhere to be seen at the GOP Convention in Tampa.

That's because for many Americans Bush's presidency brings back bad memories of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the dismal response of the federal government to Hurricane Katrina, the conditions that allowed the financial crisis of 2008 to happen and on and on.

Just a few months ago a CNN/ORC Poll found Bush to be the least popular living ex-president.

But somehow he still gets higher favorable ratings than the Republican who wants to be president.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean for Mitt Romney if he's less popular than George W. Bush ?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm 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.

How long will we blame George W. Bush for our problems?
June 14th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

How long will we blame George W. Bush for our problems?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's all Bush's fault.

That's where most Americans still put the blame for our economic problems, even though it's been more than three years since George W. Bush left office.

A new Gallup Poll shows 68% of those surveyed say the former president deserves either a great deal or a moderate amount of blame. Thirty-one percent say he deserves not much or no blame at all.

Compare that to the man who has actually been steering the ship for the last three-plus years.

Fifty-two percent say President Obama deserves the blame for America's economic troubles. Forty-eight percent say he's not to blame.

The relative economic blame given to the two leaders is virtually the same as September 2011.

As is usually the case, there's a partisan divide here, although Republicans are more willing to blame Bush than Democrats are willing to blame President Obama.

As for independents, they are substantially more likely to blame Bush than Obama.

With the economy the top issue for November, all this is very good news for President Obama.

Even though Americans have more negative than positive views of the economy – and the direction it's headed – people are more likely to blame the president's predecessor.

It kind of makes you wonder at what point President Obama will own this nation's problems.

Meanwhile all this comes on the heels of another poll that showed President Bush as the least popular living ex-president.

Mitt Romney may want to keep this in mind as he selects his running mate. Several of his potential vice presidents have close ties to Bush, including folks like Rob Portman, Mitch Daniels and, of course, Jeb Bush.

Here’s my question to you: How long will we blame George W. Bush for our problems?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Democrats fear another Bush. Should they? Do you?
April 30th, 2012
03:47 PM ET

Democrats fear another Bush. Should they? Do you?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Less than four years after George W. Bush left Washington, Democrats are afraid of another Bush.

If Jeb Bush were to become Mitt Romney's running mate, the former Florida governor would likely deliver his home state. Plus, he would likely attract more Hispanics, Catholics, conservatives and independents.

That's exactly what Democrats fear, and why they're likely relieved to hear Jeb Bush isn't interested.

People close to Bush tell Politico he means it, too. They say Jeb truly doesn't want to be on the ticket, that it's just not his time.

It could mean 2012 is just too close to the eight years of his brother's presidency and that the country couldn't stomach another President Bush. Just think: Having a Bush in the race would immediately put the focus back on the Iraq war, torture, spying on Americans, etc.

However, Bush loyalists insist his family's privacy is a major reason why Jeb didn't want to run for president this year and won't want to be the No. 2 either.

They say he's happy giving speeches, doing consulting and policy work through education and literacy foundations.

Plus as the son and brother of former presidents, Jeb Bush on a presidential ticket raises the political dynasty question. As George Will points out, if Bush ran as vice president that would mean a Bush on the GOP ticket in seven of the past nine presidential elections.

Still, not everyone is giving up hope on Jeb Bush running with Romney.

His eldest son, George P. Bush, tells Politico "it would be a phenomenal ticket."

Here’s my question to you: Democrats fear another Bush. Should they? Do you?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


How would you compare Rick Perry to George W. Bush?
August 18th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

How would you compare Rick Perry to George W. Bush?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's hard not to compare Rick Perry to the last Republican governor from Texas who made it all the way to the White House: George W. Bush.

Both men are conservative and religious... and neither is what you would call a scholar.

But as Texan author James Moore writes on CNN.com, "If Perry and bush had been born in the same family, W would have become known as "the smart one."

That's saying a lot.

Bush went to Yale - Perry to Texas A&M. He got Cs and Ds at a place Paul Begala calls "this cute remedial school we have in Texas."

Oh yeah, and both were cheerleaders at school. How weird is that? Very.

Both were in the service... Bush in the Air National Guard and Perry in the Air Force.

When Bush got out of the guard under a cloud of suspicion that he failed to fulfill his entire obligation, he went on to fail in the Texas oil business before becoming a multi-millionaire off the Texas Rangers.

Perry headed straight from the military to the family cotton farm and stayed there for seven years before entering Congress. Since being elected to that job, he hasn't made a dime in the private sector. His checks have all come from the government.

By the way, neither one of these men are cowboys, but they like to pretend... like little boys who put on cowboy hats and boots and stomp around like they're on the set of the TV show "Bonanza."

Differences? As Governor, Bush was known for reaching across the aisle, whereas Perry was the opposite.

Also, Bush pushed ideas and policies he didn't necessarily believe in but were politically expedient... Perry on the other hand believes what he's selling and has been described as looking on compromise "as a kind of terminal cancer."

Lastly - seems like there's not much love lost between the Bush and Perry camps - The Daily Beast reports that Karl Rove and his operatives appear to have launched a campaign to derail Perry's bid for the White House.

Here’s my question to you: How would you compare Rick Perry to George W. Bush?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


November 10th, 2010
04:18 PM ET

Two years later, do you ever miss Pres. Bush?


George W. Bush waves while signing copies of his new memoir, 'Decision Points' at a Borders Books in Dallas. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Pennington/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

George Bush is out hawking a new book, and suddenly the former president is popping up all over the place, from broadcast news interviews to Oprah's couch.

Two years later, it seems worth comparing the former occupant of the Oval Office to the current one.

Howard Kurtz writes in his Daily Beast column that the contrast between presidents Bush and Obama in recent appearances could hardly be sharper. Kurtz calls it the Decider versus the Agonizer.

Bush, as always, talks in those short, declarative sentences and appears sure of himself - even on weighty issues like waterboarding, Saddam and WMDs. On the other hand, Kurtz writes that President Obama's "finely rendered prose" and meandering around any topic makes him sound like a think tank analyst.

Kurtz points out that Bush doesn't have nearly as much on the line here, except maybe some image rehab. He compares the man who approved torture to the man who tortures himself.

After eight years of President Bush, it felt like most of the country couldn't wait to be rid of him. "Bring 'em on," "Wanted dead or alive," and "I'm the decider," had gotten on everyone's nerves. Much of America welcomed the more intellectual and eloquent Barack Obama with open arms. But the new love affair is shaping up as a bit of a one night stand.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll say Bush was a better president, compared to 47 percent who feel that way about President Obama.

A year ago, only 34 percent thought Bush had been a better president, compared to 57 percent for Mr. Obama.

At this point, the trend is not President Obama's friend.

Here’s my question to you: Two years later, do you ever miss President Bush?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


November 2nd, 2010
04:18 PM ET

Country more divided now than under Bush?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

For most of the eight years George W. Bush was president, the United States was a nation divided.
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Liberals and many independents passionately opposed what President Bush was doing and the way he was doing it - from the wars, to torture, wiretapping of U.S. citizens, the response to Hurricane Katrina and the president's cowboy attitude when it came to international relations.

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, we were told things would change. Candidate Obama promised a new era of bipartisanship. He promised to change the way Washington works. A tall order for sure, but a lot of people believed it could happen.

Fast forward two years and in many ways this country seems more divided than ever. For starters, critics say the administration is insular and out-of-touch with most Americans. The same thing many said about Bush.

Also, they say the president's promises of bipartisanship fell flat, with the Democrats pushing through controversial legislation like health care reform with few, if any, Republicans on board.

Many Americans are now opposed to what this president has done, including health care, the stimulus bill and record government spending.

Some are so disgusted with what's going on in Washington that a whole new political movement has been born. In many ways, it seems like the phenomenon that is the Tea Party sprung up in reaction to President Obama's policies.

And, as the country votes today in the midterms, it's an election that's been marked by angry, nasty ads and personal attacks between the political parties, which seem to be worse than ever.

Here’s my question to you: In less than two years, does it seem the country has become even more divided than it was during the Bush years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


August 18th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Who sent clearer message as president, Bush or Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama - arguably one of the great orators and most articulate campaigners ever to occupy the White House - runs the risk of an "incoherent presidency." The White House is sending out mixed messages that have people scratching their heads and political opponents licking their chops.
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David Morey, whose communication group - Core Strategy - gave advice to the 2008 Obama campaign, tells CNN that "simpler is better" and this White House needs to lead by controlling the dialogue.

It's pretty tough criticism for a candidate whose campaign was tightly run and almost always on message.

Recently - that doesn't seem to be the case. Take the wave of criticism Pres. Obama is facing since he weighed in on the plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero.

After making his initial comments in defense of the project on Friday, the President seemed to backtrack the next day... a White House spokesman felt the need to clarify those comments. And then today Mr. Obama told reporters he has "no regrets" about weighing in on the debate. I bet he does.

Maureen Dowd described Mr. Obama as an "incoherent president" in a recent New York Times column.... saying he's "with the banks, he's against the banks. He's leaving Afghanistan, he's staying in Afghanistan. He strains at being a populist, but his head is in the clouds."

The advice from Morey, the communications expert, is the president needs to sound less like a law professor.

Just a few years ago, critics often ridiculed former President George W. Bush for his mangled speech, mispronouncing words... or just plain making them up. But, Pres. Bush rarely had to backtrack on what he said because he kept it so simple and direct... ""bring 'em on" and "I'm the decider"... remember?

Here’s my question to you: Who sent the clearer message as president, George Bush or Barack Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


July 6th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

When do problems blamed on Bush transfer to Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Finger pointing is an age-old past time in Washington. But at some point when you get the job, you also get to own the problems that come with it.

When President Obama took office almost 18 months ago, he had a lot to blame on his predecessor, George W. Bush - the economy was on life support, and the country was fighting two wars half a world away and the country was spiraling ever more deeply into debt. The general mood in this country wasn't so cheery. But a year and a half later, not a whole lot has changed. The economy isn't much better, the wars continue, and the debt has gotten a lot worse.

President Obama is still reminding Americans though that he "inherited" a lot of his problems. Last week, he told attendees at a Wisconsin town hall meeting that the economic woes many are facing are not his fault.

Granted there is still a lot of animosity when it comes to the Bush presidency, but at some point he becomes history and the country must confront the here and now.

Our friends over on CNN.com point out that 41 percent of Americans say Republicans are responsible for our current economic problems. 28 percent point a finger at Democrats, and 26 percent said both parties are to blame, even though in the last two years of the Bush Administration, Democrats controlled Congress.

The debate over whose fault everything is could take on added importance when it comes to the midterm elections in November. Will the voters continue to give the Democrats a pass?

Here’s my question to you: At what point does ownership of problems blamed on George Bush transfer to President Obama?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm 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.

May 6th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What should Pres. Obama do about Bush tax cuts?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They're known as the "Bush tax cuts"... but pretty soon they'll be a part of President Obama's legacy too.
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That's because Mr. Obama wants the tax cuts - introduced in 2001 and 2003 - to be extended indefinitely for most Americans. They're set to expire at the end of this year though, which means lawmakers must act before then.

These tax cuts lowered income and investment tax rates, increased the child credit and reduced the real estate tax and inequalities for married taxpayers.

And then there's this: Despite the $12 trillion national debt, Pres. Obama isn't calling on Congress to pay for the cost of extending these tax cuts. We're talking about spending more than $2 trillion on his predecessor's tax policy.

But the president does want to raise taxes on the rich. He's proposing letting the tax cuts expire for couples making more than $250,000 - or individuals making more than $200,000.

Critics say that increasing taxes on the rich will hurt small businesses, job growth and the stock market. But Democrats say the plan is fair because middle class Americans are struggling more than the wealthy. So their solution is to take from the well-off and give to the not-as-well-off. You know, redistribute the wealth.

Meanwhile it's not clear when Congress will take up the issue. It might happen before their summer break so they can go home and brag to their constituents about what they've done ahead of the midterm elections.

But the hard truth is this: Extending those tax cuts without paying for them... perhaps by, say, cutting government spending, is just irresponsible.

Here’s my question to you: What should President Obama do about the Bush tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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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