“People have a right to be grouchy,” Obama adviser David Axelrod said on CNN’s State of the Union when asked about Obama’s sagging approval rating, which is now just below 50 percent.
“There’s ten percent unemployment,” the top presidential adviser also pointed out. “These are tough times.”
“We took over in January in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis, fiscal crisis, financial crisis, two wars,” Obama also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “The president has had to make a lot of tough decisions to try and rescue our economy from collapse, to move this country forward and we are going to reap the benefits of that.”
Although Axelrod acknowledged that Obama’s approval ratings had fallen considerably during his first year in office, Axelrod also said that the White House was not focused on polling data.
The Senate vote on health care reform came shortly after 1 a.m. Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrats won a major victory in their push for health care reform early Monday morning as the Senate voted to end debate on a package of controversial proposals to a sweeping $871 billion bill.
The 60 to 40 party line vote - cast shortly after 1 a.m. - kept Senate Democrats on track to pass the bill on Christmas Eve. If it passes, the measure will then have to be merged with a roughly $1 trillion plan passed by House of Representatives in November.
The vote left President Barack Obama on the cusp of claiming victory on his top domestic priority and enacting the biggest expansion of federal health care guarantees since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid over four decades ago.
"Today, the Senate took another historic step toward our goal of delivering access to quality, affordable health care to all Americans," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said in a statement.
The bill will help "promote choice and competition to drive down skyrocketing health care costs for families ... all across America."
Washington (CNN) – Not every Republican is a critic of President Obama. At least one thinks the president is doing a fine job – at least when it comes to the effort involved in being the country’s chief executive.
Asked to give Obama a grade as the end of the president’s first year in office approaches, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s Republican governor, gave Obama high marks.
“When it comes to effort, [Obama] should get a straight A,” Schwarzenegger told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King in an interview that aired Sunday on State of the Union.
“He’s out there with tremendous energy and he’s selling his ideas. And he has great enthusiasm there. He’s a great speaker, a great communicator.”
The one-time Hollywood action star also had some advice for Obama as the president tries to push his agenda through Capitol Hill’s partisanship.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
Compiled by Alison Harding
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Senate votes to give green light to health care bill
Democrats won a major victory in their push for health care reform early Monday morning as the Senate voted to end debate on a package of controversial proposals to a sweeping $871 billion bill.
CNN: A dozen Gitmo detainees sent to 3 countries
Twelve detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were transferred to Afghanistan, Yemen and Somaliland, the U.S. Justice Department said Sunday. The moves bring the total number of detainees held at Guantanamo to just under 200.
Los Angeles Times: Obama's Guantanamo policy rings a bell
President Obama began the year with a pledge to close the Guantanamo prison, and to restore due process and the core constitutional values that he said "made this country great." But his administration has set out a multi-pronged legal policy for the remaining Guantanamo prisoners that bears a striking similarity to that of the final year of George W. Bush's presidency.
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Condolences Mark Support for Iran Dissidents
The Obama administration publicly mourned the passing of Iran's Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, in an unusual move U.S. officials said was designed to align the White House with Iran's democratic movement. But U.S. officials also stressed Sunday that Mr. Montazeri's death and the continuing political protests inside Iran are unlikely to significantly alter President Barack Obama's overall strategy of seeking to engage Tehran in the near term.
Boston Globe: Dodd tacks new course on Senate bank bill
Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, who one month ago proposed an overhaul of financial regulations that was hailed by many consumer activists, has all but jettisoned that proposal following Republican objections and has initiated talks for a new approach designed to satisfy some of his fiercest GOP critics.
Hartford Courant: Dairy Farmers To Receive Emergency Aid
State dairy farmers should be receiving checks before the end of the year from a pool of emergency aid included in a U.S. Department of Agriculture appropriations bill.Connecticut farmers have for most of the past year been paying more to produce milk than they can sell it for, and the disparity is steadily causing farms to go under.
Los Angeles Times: Democrats will invoke Bush in 2010
It's an axiom in U.S. politics that the party in power in the White House loses seats in off-year elections. So every Democrat is girding for the fight in 2010. But Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters last week that Democrats have a plan: Remind voters of George W. Bush.
TOPICS: Barack Obama, race relations, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner, Robert Gates, Eric Holder, Joe Lieberman, Ben Bernanke, Tiger Woods, Congress, Republicans, Democrats, opinion of government, economy, budget deficit, health care, Afghanistan, Martin Luther King, New Year's Eve, college football