On Thursday's CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric touted the just-passed financial reform bill as a "big win" for President Obama, "as was the passage of health care reform." She then lamented how despite that: "...there are rumblings he's in big political trouble as the midterm elections approach."
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed: "...the President was reveling in another victory on a major piece of legislation.... he'll add it to a long list, headlined by health care reform and the stimulus." A graphic then appeared on-screen actually listing half a dozen of the Obama administration's supposed accomplishments for viewers.
Turning to Obama's falling poll numbers, Reid seemed puzzled: "With so many accomplishments in just 18 months, you'd think the President would be flying high. Instead, his approval rating continues to sink and now stands at just 44 percent."
Reid then observed: "So, what's the problem? In a word: jobs." He highlighted the President's recent trip to stimulus-funded projects in Michigan and sympathized with how Obama "seems powerless to do anything about an unemployment rate stuck at an excruciating 9.5 percent."
Turning to the midterm elections, Reid explained: "The bad economic news has fearful Democrats lashing out at each other." He cited White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitting that Republicans could gain control of the House of Representatives and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's demand for more presidential help in congressional races. Reid concluded: "But that creates another problem. Many vulnerable Democrats don't want the increasingly unpopular president in their districts at all."
Friday's Early Show offered a similar assessment of the President's political situation, touting his "accomplishments" and wondering why his poll numbers are dropping. Co-host Harry Smith declared: "Congress approves sweeping changes in financial regulations as President Obama takes on Wall Street and wins. So, why are his poll numbers so bad?"
While both the Evening News and Early Show stories counted ObamaCare among the list of the President's accomplishments, neither cited a recent CBS News poll finding that only 13% of Americans feel the massive government initiative will actually help them.
Here is a full transcript of the July 15 Evening News segment:
KATIE COURIC: Now, cracking down on Wall Street is the goal of President Obama's financial reform bill. The Senate gave it final congressional approval today, with three Republicans joining the majority Democrats. The bill will – among other things – prohibit banks from trading the most high-risk derivatives. Lenders will have to make sure a borrower can afford a mortgage. And a 10-member council will monitor potential threats to the financial system. This was a big win for the President, as was the passage of health care reform. But as Chip Reid tells us, there are rumblings he's in big political trouble as the midterm elections approach.
CHIP REID: At the White House today, the President was reveling in another victory on a major piece of legislation.
BARACK OBAMA: This reform puts in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history.
REID: When he signs the Wall Street reform bill next week, he'll add it to a long list, headlined by health care reform and the stimulus.
[ON-SCREEN GRAPHIC: White House Accomplishments: -Health care reform; -Stimulus; -Equal pay law; -Tobacco regulation; -Student loan reform; -Credit card reform]
With so many accomplishments in just 18 months, you'd think the President would be flying high. Instead, his approval rating continues to sink and now stands at just 44 percent.
So, what's the problem? In a word: jobs. The President, who visited yet another stimulus project today, this one in Michigan, seems powerless to do anything about an unemployment rate stuck at an excruciating 9.5 percent.
JOHN BOEHNER [HOUSE MINORITY LEADER, R-OH]: What the President has been pushing is not working. Washington reports that are filled with a bunch of fuzzy math won't change the fact that the stimulus is failing.
REID: The bad economic news has fearful Democrats lashing out at each other. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs ignited a firestorm this week with this comment:
ROBERT GIBBS: I think there's no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control. There's no doubt about that.
REID: Gibbs says he was simply stating the obvious, but sources say Speaker Nancy Pelosi is angry at him and deeply unhappy the White House isn't doing more to help. After meeting with the President last night, Pelosi said he will now campaign more for House Democrats. But that creates another problem. Many vulnerable Democrats don't want the increasingly unpopular president in their districts at all.
Now, many of those vulnerable Democrats say Wall Street reform is fine, but what their constituents are desperately calling for now is jobs and they're just not seeing it. Katie.
COURIC: Chip Reid at the White House tonight. Chip, thank you.