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“The Second Coming: What can the 44th president really achieve in his second term?”

- (From the cover of Foreign Policy magazine)

GORE CHANGES CHANNELS

When Al Gore founded Current TV in 2005, its mission statement claimed the network would never be “DNC TV,” but rather, a vibrant outlet for the young and restless. But now? There are strong reports from the New York Times and other sources that Mr. Gore has sold his network to Al-Jazeera, the Arabic language cable channel based in Qatar.

It is a far cry from November, when Mr. Gore himself anchored the network’s presidential election coverage. Nielsen, meanwhile, reveals that Current attracts nightly audiences as low as 41,000 viewers.

“If the deal is completed, Current will provide the Pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms,” The Times says. “To date, the country’s cable and satellite distributors have been reluctant to carry Al-Jazeera English Acquiring Current TV, and thus its distribution deals across the country, would solve this dilemma for Al-Jazeera.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 85 percent of Americans anticipate a federal budget deficit this year; 13 percent counter that the budget will be “generally balanced.”

• 82 percent anticipate rising taxes; 13 percent say taxes will fall.

• 65 percent anticipate a year of “economic difficulty,” 33 percent anticipate “prosperity.”

• 57 percent say America’s power will decline in the world in the next year; 37 percent say it will increase.

• 50 percent say the nation’s “best years are behind us”; 74 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 28 percent of Democrats agree.

• 47 percent of Americans overall say the nation’s best years are “ahead of us”; 24 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,025 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 14-17 and released Wednesday.

Grumbles, mumbles, sighs to jharper@washingtontimes.com