Another Tough Job For Obama: Pleasing People
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
The president's declining poll numbers reflect a number of challenges and national crises that have tested his on-the-job performance. For more, NPR's news analyst Juan Williams joins us in the studio. Hi, Juan. Nice to see you.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Good morning, Liane.
HANSEN: Put this all in context for us: why does the president appear to be losing support among the same people who voted him into office?
WILLIAMS: You ask people why and, of course, economy is the number one issue in the country. And if you ask them, well, have President Obama's policies helped you personally in terms of your income, your savings, your investments? People say no. In fact, only 13 percent of Americans say that the stimulus have worked to help them.
HANSEN: Oh. So, the people are frustrated because they don't have a job and therefore they are frustrated with the president. But about these Independents, the slipping support from them for the president, does that have anything to do with the way Independents define themselves?
WILLIAMS: And, of course, all the rhetoric flying out there in right-wing circles is about Obama's a socialist, Obama's taking the country down, all that kind of stuff.
HANSEN: But, you know, the president has had a lot of legislative successes. Even though, health care overhaul was controversial, there's been financial reform, the stimulus plan. So, there are successes, but are Americans, you think, more attuned to crises?
WILLIAMS: And so when Americans are looking - it's not just the jobs thing that we were talking about a moment ago, it's also questions about how you're dealing with the oil spill. It's also questions about how are you dealing with immigration as an issue, how are you dealing with bipartisanship in Washington as an issue, what about that deficit out there? They read these headlines and they're thinking, you know, this president's not as responsive as we had hoped. We hoped in some ways that we were getting something different than President Bush and we're worried that you are not the leader that we thought you were supposed to be.
HANSEN: How has the White House responded to all this?
WILLIAMS: Well, you know what, they're hyenas, shrugging their shoulders a little bit. But their attitude is, going into the fall elections, we're going to say, you know what, do you want to move forward or do you want to go backwards to the Bush policies? They know that they're in trouble in that fall election and it could get problematic.
HANSEN: NPR news analyst Juan Williams. Thanks for coming in, Juan.
WILLIAMS: You're welcome, Liane. Have a good Sunday.
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