Polls Hold Problems for Bush, Clinton
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
The president has declared parts of Kansas a disaster area, which frees up federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts. That is one of the powers of the presidency. The veto power is another. And the president is using both even as the new poll shows his approval ratings at an all-time low. Let's get some analysis, as we often do on Monday mornings, from NPR's Cokie Roberts. Cokie, good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: Twenty-eight percent approval rating for the president, according to Newsweek. How's that affect the president when he's negotiating with Congress over a war-spending bill?
ROBERTS: It doesn't seem to affect him much. It's the worst rating since Jimmy Carter in 1979, the worst in the generation. But the president's supporters continue to say that he wants a clean bill with no timetable for withdrawal of American troops and no benchmarks for the Iraqi government. Now, he's unlikely to get that. And yesterday in Iowa, Senator Clinton told the Associated Press that for the first time there are efforts to try to negotiate with the president and she's seeing some light there. She says she'll support whatever the Democratic leadership comes up with. But it's not clear right now what that is. There seems to be movement towards benchmarks for the Iraqi government but no binding consequences if they don't meet them.
INSKEEP: Hillary Clinton not doing so great in the polls, either.
ROBERTS: But look, it's also hard on these candidates to be in the United States Senate. Having to vote on Iraq over and over again, as they are likely to do, is a problem as they're out there on the campaign trail because there are a lot of voters they're going to make unhappy by just casting their votes.
INSKEEP: Well, let's talk about other candidates getting into the race. I keep urging you to get in, Cokie, and you keep...
ROBERTS: I know, Steve...
INSKEEP: ...pushing it aside.
ROBERTS: You know, the minute that would happen, you wouldn't like me.
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INSKEEP: We'd go after you. We'd go after you big time.
ROBERTS: That's right.
INSKEEP: In any case, there are some possibilities of other candidates coming into the race. What's happening there?
ROBERTS: It's a dispirited Republican Party. When you've gotten this Newsweek poll, 71 percent saying they're dissatisfied with the direction the country is going in, that's very hard on the incumbent party.
INSKEEP: Okay, thanks very much. That's analysis on this Monday morning from NPR News analyst Cokie Roberts, also known in some quarters as Rebecca Roberts's mom. She's filling in, of course, this morning. And you'll hear her in just a moment telling you what program you're listening to.
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REBECCA ROBERTS, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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