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April 11, 2006


Bush is now at 32% in California, with only 59% of Repubs approving. And 41% of Repubs disapprove of his conduct of the war. See here.

Perhaps we will learn something from the special election in CA-50 today, to pick a replacement for the Dukestir.

I think 32% is as low as he goes anywhere. The 59% approval of Rs is interesting. So is the read of CA mood... Dem landslide or 'throw all the bums out'?

"It's the increasingly partisan rancor that characterizes the Congress," DiCamillo said. "The very partisan Republican orientation of the House is not very well received. The public wants compromises to be reached and they generally don't see many of those things taking place in Congress these days."

Speaking of pols and polls:

But in the new Post-ABC News poll, completed Sunday, 50 percent of respondents said they trusted the Democrats to better handle the immigration issue, while 38 percent trusted Republicans. A third of Americans approved of the president's handling of the immigration issue, while 61 percent disapproved. Only his handling of gas prices showed lower approval ratings.

I'd be interested in getting some context from Nixon's low point, which was somewhere around 26%, I believe. I imagine you can get that low only when some of your hard-core loyalists realize that your continued presence on the national stage is doing more harm than good and they want you to go away in order to stop the bleeding. I don't think we're quite there yet, but Iraq and Plame/Wilson are like cement shoes. And what's gotta be very scary for the White House is that there is no end in sight on either of these stories. WIth the war, they have options. With the leak investigation, it's completely out of their hands and the potential for more bad news is considerable. Let's not forget, Bush promoted both Rove and Hadley coming into his second term. If both of them get indicted - and why else would Fitz leave these guys off his witness list? - and if the president can be shown to have knowledge of their actions in the whole Wilson smear campaign, how exactly are they going to explain his rewarding them for bad/criminal behaivor. Big ifs, yes, but the 20s are not at all out of the question.

I don't think Bush could fall into the Nixonian 20s, due to the change in political culture. He'd poll 30 on the day the marshalls put him on a plane for The Hague.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006


An embarrassing move this afternoon from CIA leak prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. In his now-famous court filing in which he said that former Cheney chief of staff Lewis Libby testified that he had been authorized to leak portions of the then-classified National Intelligence Estimate, Fitzgerald wrote, "Defendant understood that he was to tell [New York Times reporter Judith] Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium."

That sentence led a number of reporters and commentators to suggest that, beyond the issue of the leak itself, the administration was lying about the NIE, because the African uranium segment was not in fact among the NIE's key judgments. For example, in a front page story on Sunday, the Washington Post reported:

At Cheney's instruction, Libby testified, he told Miller that the uranium story was a "key judgment" of the intelligence estimate, a term of art indicating there was consensus on a question of central importance.
In fact, the alleged effort to buy uranium was not among the estimate's key judgments, which were identified by a headline and bold type and set out in bullet form in the first five pages of the 96-page document.

A few hours ago, however, Fitzgerald sent a letter to judge Reggie Walton, asking to correct his filing. The letter reads:

We are writing to correct a sentence from the Government's Response to Defendant's Third Motion to Compel Discovery, filed on April 5, 2006. The sentence, which is the second sentence of the second paragraph on page 23, reads, 'Defendant understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium." That sentence should read, "Defendant understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, some of the key judgments of the NIE, and that the NIE stated that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium."
Never mind.

Dear sad,

It still all depends on what "leak" means doesn't it. Splitting hairs and legalistic defenses are all you have left. It really is 'sad'.


In inswer to the question of where Nixon was -- as we might compare to Bush Jr. -- the following two offerings from Stanley Kutler's Wars of Watergate.

In June of 1974 just after Nixon returned from his Egyptian trip, his "hold on office" rose by 3 points -- meaning that support for removal fell from 48% to 44%. (If you remember, this trip included a train trip in an open car, where Nixon was acclaimed along the way -- great pictures.)

However after the Supremes rendered their Eight-zip decision in US v. Nixon tapes case, and the public Judiciary Hearings began -- on the second day, July 26, 1974 Nixon had a 63% disapproval score and a 21% support position.

Polls make lots of different kinds of differences. I think everyone notes that since GWB dropped below the high 40's his critics have been given more space and time in the media -- Afterall they do attend to their mass audience. But others tend to follow the lead of the seeming majority -- and for at least the last six months bush believers have not really been a majority. The range of public opinion is more dynamic than a year ago -- and it is moving against Bush.

What Bush does not have going for him is the ability to recover by taking a train trip in Egypt as Nixon did -- First, he is a terrible tourist, and second, he can't go anywhere unless the streets are swept of people. He just doesn't have a recovery plan.

I suspect Bush's poll numbers will continue to fall into the low 30's or even high 20's and then plateau when all that is left is his hard core base. While I would agree that Iraq is a major factor -- never overlook the price of Gas. Pump Prices are understood by many as the result of Iraq and not a more independent variable -- but people get steamed when they look at the posted price when they fill up.

I believe the narrative and a decent interpretation of the CIA outing matter is really missing from the media. Remember, this story has been unrolling now for nearly three years -- and drip drip drip does not suit short attention spans. We meed a mass media something that puts all the relevant facts into a narrative that can easily be understood. As things stand now, it is far too disjointed to be understood by non-news junkies.

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