BELLANTONI: Budget ‘sold’ as central to recovery

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Democratic lawmakers also won’t let the president use fast-track rules to pass his global-warming plan over Republican objections.

Mr. Obama’s hopes of working with Republicans have been dashed frequently since the last press conference: A Republican Cabinet nominee backed out, and he won just three moderate Republican votes on the stimulus bill.

“Yesterday President Obama said GOP’ers have decided to just ‘be against whatever the other side is for.’ So much for bipartisanship,” Sen. John McCain, Mr. Obama’s Republican presidential rival, wrote on his Twitter feed Tuesday.

The biggest difficulties for the new president during his Feb. 9 press conference were the tax problems of a Cabinet nominee, but in the weeks since, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged and the nation has bled more jobs.

That’s why on Tuesday most questions focused on the economy and deficit spending, with none of the 13 questioners asking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new president has been hit hardest by the handling of the AIG bonuses, which the administration, fearing a lawsuit, allowed to be paid out despite bailing out the company.

While Mr. Obama remains popular among the American people who say they are patient, polls show they believe he bungled the AIG issue.

A CBS poll released Monday shows 42 percent disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of AIG, while 41 percent approve, but his overall approval rating was unchanged, with 64 percent of those surveyed expressing their satisfaction with his performance.

Obama supporters find it irritating that anyone is questioning his success rate, since he’s been in office just over two months, and they note he already has achieved popular measures such as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, allowing federal funding of stem cell research and a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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