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Weeks of Obama's budget sales pitch and support still slips

Democratic president Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa California 3-18-09 by Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times

Now, we know why the White House laid on the immense trans-continental public relations offensive over its immense budget these past two-to-three weeks.

The Gallup Poll did another one this week on President Obama's $3,550,000,000,000 budget for fiscal 2010 and found support for it down slightly, disapproval up slightly and even "Don't Knows" also up a bit.

So no big statistical change, right?


But wait. Add a little context and it can look somewhat different.

Obama took his well-oiled road show to California in that time frame to hold two nationally-televised town hall meetings dominated by budget talk. He went on Jay Leno's show and talked to some 14 million bedtime viewers about the budget. He did a well-watched "60 Minutes" interview last weekend and talked more about the budget. He held a nationally-televised primetime news conference Tuesday and talked endlessly about the budget to an estimated 42 million Americans. His support team mobilized millions of e-mails to gin up supporters across the land to talk up the budget, especially to friends and elected representatives. Other groups ran ads supporting the budget. Obama brings up the ambitious budget at every opportunity. And he drove to Capitol Hill to create even more opportunity for budget news coverage.

The result, according to Gallup: People who feel positively about his budget fell from 44% in late February to 39% this week. People who feel negatively about the budget increased one point to 27% in the same time frame. And after all that budget talk, people who claim to not know enough to have an opinion increased 10% from 30% to 33%.

The budget battles are far from over, of course, even with Obama's own Democratic Party controlling both houses of Congress. (For a video evaluation of Obama's budget claims, scroll down or click on the "Read more" line below.)

But imagine what could have happened to U.S. public opinion on the president's budget if he hadn't invested all that salesmanship. Can he keep it up? And is some public caution creeping in?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (22)

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No taxes for a year would go a LONG way toward solving the budget crisis. Giving it to the government is nothing short of squandering

This administration is an "Obamanation".

I'm scared as hell about all this spending. I don't care what anyone says to defend it, it just doesn't make sense to me how this is good for us.

The Democrats were freaking out when Bush & Co. were blowing up the deficit, and they were right. But was their outrage an act? Apparently so.

I don't believe for a second that the sensible middle of this country will support this insanity for long. The pendulum will swing back, but not to the GOP as it was under Bush -- it can't, because we can't afford it.

Why can't we have socially-moderate but genuinely conservative people in Washington? People who aren't global-warming fear-mongers or Bible-thumping nannies trying to run our lives -- just individuals who respect the Constitution as it was written, and don't spend us into oblivion.

We blunder into wars and insane spending sprees alike, because Washington is too powerful, and takes -- or assumes it will be able to take in the future -- so much money from us that it is inevitable they'll get into trouble somehow.

"But imagine what could have happened to U.S. public opinion on the president's budget if he hadn't invested all that salesmanship."

ToT has it wrong. The more people see and learn about this monstrosity of a budget the less they like it. If Obama wasn't in love with himself and felt the constant need to be in front of a camera details of the budget would not be well known and support would be higher than it is now.

So yes, I do hope he can keep up his media barrage and bury this plan once and for all.

People are starting to wake up. Obama is trying to add more to the national debt than the first 43 presidents combined, doubling it in the next six years, and tripling it within the decade. Worse, he is tearing down the productive part of the economy with his rhetoric and policies, while trying to build up the gov't sector (ie, the unproductive part of the economy). Great Britain has been traveling down this road the last 10 years, and things are a mess there. As more and more Americans realize this, the lower Obama's polls will drop.

There's not really anyone out there opposing the budget, so this is strange.

There's a lot more to being President than looking good and speaking well with a teleprompter feeding you lines.

Personally, I'm waiting for him to stop the friggin' campaigning and start acting like a President, staying in Washington and DEALING WITH PROBLEMS instead of going out constantly to get his massively incompetent ego stroked while Pelosi and Reid sock-puppet his presidency. He might not want to deal with the problems - but they come with the perqs he was willing to prostitute himself to every left-wing organization in the book to get.

... Campaigning isn't the same as leading.

i feel that obama should scale back on his 2010 budget proposal,it is far too aggressive for these times . budget items could be phased in when the economy recovers. and what about guns and butter issue in economics.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time... but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." - Abraham Lincoln

I think Honest Abe hit the nail on the head. He didn't know Obama, but he knew all about the type of politician Obama has become.

This time next week I think the Presidents approval ratings will slide dramatically. 40% of those he dissed at that online town hall meeting were his extreme loyal supporters. After all the blogs of the far left I have come to my own conclusion that without those vocal few he will only have his Administration and fellow politicians left to scream his infamous slogan "Change we can believe in!". Bottom line: the new boss is the same as the old boss. good bye.

The truth is that the more he talks about it the more people dislike it because the truth of the budget is worse than the mystery of it. When it remains shrouded in generalities (as I'm assuming Obama's team wants it to) it will have more popularity. The more people realize how it curtails freedom and goes against reason (people aren't total idiots they know that you can't continue racking up debt and expect it to never come back and bite you in the butt... people are especially aware of this fact right now with the credit crunch on and unemployment up) the more they will be critical of it.

There is nothing thoughtful or professional or responsible about the non-administrating Obama Administration. There is only the continuing three ring circus of hastily put together, poorly formulated policy, spewing forth like a many-headed serpent, spawning programs packed with problems and loopholes and guaranteed to produce countless unintended and costly (to the taxpayers) future consequences.

(And frankly, anyone who doesn’t get their money out of the stock market while they can is out of their mind.)

"People who feel positively about his budget fell from 44% in late February to 39% this week. People who feel negatively about the budget increased one point to 27% in the same time frame."

Considering the news in the media concerning the budget has been so extremely negative, I'd say that's the best he could hope for. I think if not for the Obama offensive, including the work of his Organizing for America group, these numbers would've shifted wholly against the budget. Just like with the stimulus package when he stayed in the White House and allowed the Republicans to take over the debate; support for the stimulus plummetted. He basically held us at the barricades and stemmed the tide.

"Save and invest", does he think we're that stupid? How about tax and spend!

Look up Bilderburg, People, and see who really runs your country. We are becoming slave to the rich and we're the ones who vote and put them there. Your medias are the ones who really puts the president in office. Who the media imposes on us is who we vote for!!! Now who owns the media? I don't know but I do know whoever they wanted to be president, that's the one there!

Staying on top of what Obama does and signs, is becoming a full time job! That is why he is on the fast track, he thinks we won't know everything going on.

I've never seen anything like him! If one goes against him or comes out and says anything opposing his policies, they get summoned to the WH, or an FBI agent shows up at their house.

The newest one is that guy that has a youtube of Thomas Paine...he was supposed to be on some radio show, and got summoned to go to the WH!

For someone that says he knows what the Constitution says, he sure is destroying it.

I think this Obamanation is trying to destroy the country.

I am a long-time resident of the Chicago area and I have been following the career of the thug-in-chief for some time. He is a skilled but typical con-man, nothing more. The residents of River City turned over their cash, but they'll never see the shiny band instruments or the spiffy uniforms.

Check out "The Obama Timeline" at:

If you can read that and still support the current temporary resident of the Oval Office, then you deserve the misery he is inflicting on this once-great nation.

Since the beginning conventional wisdom was that debt is not a good thing. You reduce spending to reduce debt and its effects. It is as rational as reducing your food intake to lose weight. Somehow, wisdom has gotten turned on its head.
Now because so many WANT to believe in "someone" or "something" they are willing to accept anything even if it is contrary to natural laws. It is as though people realize in their heart it doesn't make sense but because this MAN is so wise and charming, surely what he is doing must have a healing effect. SHAKE SLEEP, AMERICA!

Stand back and take in the TOTALITY of what this man is doing. Turn off your emotions and engage your God given ability to think. Can you see what is happening?

Palin 2012: Change you'll be begging for.

Uhm, the truth is .. .you need to realize that CHANGE is more possible in a system that allows its citizens to bring about change. That is why we are supposed to have a republic. The reason you people keep getting disapointed is you are voting for people who are putting together a system that keeps them in power by PREVENTING ANY FURTHER CHANGE. Surprised Obama is no different? You really shouldn't be. He isn't going to change anything for anyone but him and his buddies. He knows you will fall for the idea that HE will bring all the change you need. Thats wrong. In a republic, WE THE PEOPLE bring the change.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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Democratic Politics



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