POLITICS

Desperation drove Obama stumble on Bergdahl

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Buzz Cut:
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DESPERATION DROVE OBAMA STUMBLE ON BERGDAHL
Why did Team Obama so badly botch the publicity of the release of five Islamist militant leaders in exchange for an accused Army deserter? The deal was sure to have been controversial, but might have, if done with humility and a low-key approach, engendered respect. Instead, the publicity blitz backfired on the administration. New Fox News polling explains how the struggling White House team ended up here, with Democrats in open rebellion and President Obama’s old rivals in Hillaryland taking potshots at his judgment? Desperation seems to be the thing. After a damaging turn with the revelation of widespread abuse of veterans at government hospitals and deepening concerns about the administration’s foreign policy setbacks in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the president’s previous strong suits are a shambles. The desire to return to the high point of his presidency, the killing of Usama bin Laden and subsequent Afghan drawdown, was understandable. But with a milky foreign policy speech at West Point, N.Y. and then the accused deserter PR fiasco, Obama finds himself in even worse position. But the poll shows us why he got greedy for a big win.

[No sale - A classified White House briefing Wednesday for Senators, many bruised over the administration’s go-it-alone deal with the Taliban, apparently fell flat. Fox News: “[M]any said the briefing did little to quell their concerns, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., saying he left the briefing with more questions than answers.…]

Worse than Bush - The latest Fox News poll shows Obama’s job approval on foreign policy, previously his most reliably good measure, slipping to the bottom of the heap, with just 36 percent approval, lower even than on the economy and health care, his perennial weak spots. But what ought to truly terrify Democrats who are running for office is that a president whose unofficial foreign motto was recently revealed to be “don’t do stupid sh*t” is widely seen as incompetent. Obama was viewed as less competent than both of his predecessors, with a 48-percent plurality saying that Obama’s administration is less competent than that of George W. Bush, including 18 percent of Democrats. That’s dire, given Bush’s low ratings on those issues at this point in his tenure. Worse still, the poll shows that 55 percent of voters, including 53 percent of female voters, believe the president has made America less safe.

[The survey, which was taken before full details had emerged about ransomed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s alleged desertion and the dangers posed by the released Taliban members were widely known, showed split opinion on support for the deal. But as to the question of whether negotiating with the Islamist terrorist group would encourage more American hostages to be taken, 84 percent agreed.]

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