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The question came to White House spokesman Jay Carney from the Intermountain Christian News on Wednesday:

“The Christian churches in our nation are concerned about the moral decline in our nation and how faith and religious liberty issues and life are crucial, from the Declaration of Independence, and how that they would believe that our rights come from Jesus, not men. How would the administration respond to that?”

The answer from Mr. Carney: “Well, I’m not sure that I have an administration response. I would tell you that the president, as a man of faith, believes very deeply in the importance that it plays in his life and understands clearly the importance it plays in the lives of so many millions of Americans.”

PERRYFIED

“We need to do away with the practice of using dedicated funds and specific fees for anything other than the purpose for which they were intended.

“If we don’t need taxpayer money for that purpose, let’s not collect it at all. We’ve never bought into the notion that if you collect more, you need to spend more. Today, I’m calling for a mechanism to be put in place so when we do bring in more than we need, we’ll have the option of returning tax money directly to the people who paid it. Currently, that’s not something our constitution allows. We need to fix that.”

(Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his State of the State speech, asking the Texas Legislature to provide at least $1.8 billion in tax relief and pass an amendment to allow the state to give money directly back to taxpayers.)

POLL DU JOUR

• 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of President Obama.

• 19 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of conservatives, 92 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of liberals agree.

• 37 percent of Americans overall have an unfavorable impression of Mr. Obama.

• 80 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of conservatives, 7 percent of Democrats and 10 percent of liberals agree.

• 55 percent of Americans approved of George W. Bush at the start of his second term in 2005.

• 65 percent approved of Bill Clinton at the start of his second term (1997); 72 percent approved of Ronald Reagan at the start of his second term (1985).

Source: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,022 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 23 to 27.

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