- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

DODD’S PLUNGE

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd’s standing with Connecticut voters continues to plunge as a poll released Thursday showed that only one in three state voters approve of his job performance.

The Quinnipiac University survey said the five-term veteran would lose his seat to either of two declared Republican challengers if the election were held today - even though many people acknowledged that they don’t know much about either challenger, the Associated Press reports.

Slipping below a 50 percent approval rating is often considered a red flag for incumbents. Quinnipiac poll director Douglas Schwartz said Mr. Dodd’s 33 percent approval rating, a dip from 44 percent in a March 10 poll, is “especially devastating.”

“A 33 percent job approval is unheard of for a 30-year incumbent, especially a Democrat in a blue state,” Mr. Schwartz said.

The poll also found that Mr. Dodd trails his two announced Republican challengers, former Rep. Rob Simmons and state Sen. Sam Caligiuri. Former Ambassador Tom Foley, who has not announced whether he will run against Mr. Dodd, also would hold an edge over the veteran Democrat, according to the poll.

It shows Mr. Simmons defeating Mr. Dodd 50 percent to 34 percent. Mr. Dodd also trails Mr. Caligiuri 41 percent to 37 percent, and Mr. Foley 43 percent to 35 percent.

The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points in the poll, which was conducted among 1,181 registered Connecticut voters between March 26 and 31.

KEEPING SCORE

Karl Rove, former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, notes in the Wall Street Journal that the Obama administration has begun to target recalcitrant Democrats.

” ‘Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother.’ That’s what President Barack Obama said to Rep. Peter DeFazio in a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus last week, according to the Associated Press.

“A few weeks ago, Mr. DeFazio voted against the administration’s stimulus bill. The comment from Mr. Obama was a presidential rebuke and part of a new, hard-nosed push by the White House to pressure Congress to adopt the president’s budget. He has mobilized outside groups and enlisted forces still in place from the Obama campaign,” Mr. Rove said.

Senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett and her chief of staff, Michael Strautmanis, are in regular contact with MoveOn.Org, Americans United for Change and other liberal interest groups. Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina has collaborated with Americans United for Change on strategy and even ad copy. Ms. Jarrett invited leaders of the liberal interest groups to a White House social event with the president and first lady to kick off the lobbying campaign.

“Its targets were initially Republicans, as Team Obama ran ads depicting the GOP as the ‘party of no.’ But now the fire is being trained on Democrats worried about runaway spending.

“Americans United is going after Democrats who are skeptical of Mr. Obama’s plans to double the national debt in five years and nearly triple it in 10. The White House is taking aim at lawmakers in 12 states, including Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. MoveOn.Org is running ads aimed at 10 moderate Senate and House Democrats. And robocalls are urging voters in key districts to pressure their congressman to get in line.”

TAKING CREDIT

The Obama administration has made a habit of blaming all the nation’s problems on former President George W. Bush, but now it is trying to take credit for projects approved by the previous administration, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reports.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. journeyed to Pikeville, N.C., on Wednesday to brag about a new fire station planned there. He said it will be built with funds from President Obama’s stimulus plan.

Mr. Biden used the outdated, current station as a backdrop, the newspaper said.

“We’re investing in places like this all across the country,” Mr. Biden said, “to demonstrate the vital role towns like this play in the recovery.”

Most of the money for the station that was announced Wednesday, however, was secured last year under the Bush administration, fire department officials said.

State Sen. David Rouzer, a Republican who represents Pikeville and worked in the Agriculture Department under Mr. Bush, said he helped secure the fire department money last year out of the federal agency’s regular programs.

“They’re coming in and cherry-picking the best projects and switching out the money, saying it’s stimulus money,” Mr. Rouzer said. “But it was already approved and in the pipeline. It’s totally disingenuous to come down here and say this is stimulus money, when regardless of whether a stimulus bill passed, they were getting the money.”

HAUNTING DECISION

President Barack Obama has announced that the United States will seek a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council for the first time. The formal election of new members is in May, but the result is a foregone conclusion. The human rights abusers who dominate the council and use it to protect themselves, to eliminate universal standards, and to demonize their democratic foes are already celebrating,” Anne Bayefsky writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“This is a surrender of American values unlike any other. The spectacle of this particular president legitimizing a lethal weapon for the defeat of human rights will haunt him until the end of his term,” said the writer, who is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and at Touro College, as well as editor of www.EyeontheUN.org.

“The council was created in March 2006 after the U.N. Human Rights Commission became too much of an embarrassment even for the U.N. The General Assembly rejected a U.S. proposal requiring that states actually protect human rights as a condition of council membership. As a result, the United States voted against the Assembly resolution that gave it birth.

“The Bush administration also refused to use taxpayer dollars to pay for the council. Obama’s move will reverse this policy.”

The writer added: “Every time the president makes a speech about human dignity, the welfare of minorities, the equality of women or an end to torture, his critics can circulate another picture of the hapless American representative to the council glued to his chair during the adoption of yet another decision trashing human rights - with the United States paying the bill.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or e-mail Greg Pierce


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