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With Osama bin Laden dead, Obama's job approval will jump this much (for this long)

Obama and Staff Watch the deadly osama bin laden raid live on a SEALcam 5-1-11 A secret document was obscured by white house before release

Americans do not like losing. They also don't like not winning, those seemingly stalemated situations that look and feel murky.

Above most everything else, Americans like winning. 

President Obama's community helpfulness in places like Libya, now enroute to awkward quagmire status because Kadafi hasn't lasted 42 years by accident, was dragging Obama down in the polls to near Jimmy Carter numbers just as today's Democrat launched his 2012 fundraising. Obama's tardy explanation for the Libya war produced no polling bounce for him.

The lame job situation. And weak recovery. And the deficit. And sagging consumer confidence. And his own stumbles. And the endless Afghan war weren't helping either.

So, not that any such thing would ever cross a president's mind, but how better to improve the political situation at home than enjoy a national security success abroad?

Kill a bad guy overseas and watch the deadly real reality show on live video via SEALcam in the White House (see photo above) Sunday afternoon. Then call a dramatic presidential address late on a Sunday evening with the side benefit of disrupting the NBC show of that annoying Donald Trump. Osama bin Laden now deceased on FBI 10 most wanted list 5-2-11

The intentional death of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden early Monday morning Pakistan time at the hands of Navy SEALs who don't shoot to wound touched a national nerve of retribution and celebration.

Yes, a helicopter went down, as it did during Carter's unsuccessful attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran. But this president's orders succeeded.

President Obama actually could have whacked Osama back in March without risking American lives simply by ordering a bombing run or two over the Osama compound in Abbotabad.

But that would have vaporized anybody inside or nearby and not produced an identifiable body to snuff future Elvis is alive stories.

Thirty hours later Osama's body is reportedly sleeping with the fishes somewhere. But still no photo or positive ID proof released, already giving rise to online 'deather' conspiracies. However, it's official if the FBI changes Osama's status on its Top Ten list from "Wanted" to "Deceased."

Here's another certainty: President Obama is about to experience a substantial jump in his job approval, at least on national security.

The very smart folks over at Public Opinion Strategies have been studying presidential popularity bumps for a very long time. Their research goes back to President Roosevelt's counterintuitive bump in approval after the humiliating Pearl Harbor disaster.

And they can now predict that Obama is likely to experience a 13-point bounce in approval. That would get the guy up from the low 40s to back above the symbolic 50% approval level.

And Stephen Kinney and his crew can also predict that Obama's bump in approval will last about 22 weeks.

That's roughly until the first week of October when, the Chicago crowd desperately hopes, the sagged economy will be unsagging sufficiently to deny feuding Republicans a palpable issue for their primary/caucus contests that will dominate political news come next winter.

In terms of duration Obama's bump would be on the lower end of POTUS approval jumps, about the same as John F. Kennedy's 12 point jump after the Cuban missile crisis but not as good as George W. Bush's 15 point jump after capturing the also departed Saddam Hussein.

Kennedy's bump lasted a good long 40 weeks. Bush's Saddam bounce endured only seven weeks, but the 43rd president's bounce after his handling of the 9/11 attacks lasted two years.


Yes, SEALs were in on the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

What if the dead guy wasn't really Osama bin Laden?

Rush Limbaugh on Osama bin Laden's death: 'Thank God for President Obama'

Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

The death of Osama bin Laden: Statements by 2 presidents who hunted him

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pete Souza / White House (Obama and staff watch live video of the deadly Osama bin Laden raid Sunday afternoon in the White House. Editor's Note: Before release the White House digitally obscured a secret document in front of Clinton);

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A good article...please try you best to circulate this as far and wide as possible so people can all stop cheering like idiots and start realizing they are being treated as idiots. The side-by-side "death picture" is such an obvious fake

This day will be remembered above all because it is the first day the citizens of NYC are praising the fact Osama bin Laden has been captured and killed, and by none other than our very own Navy Seals.

Mr. Malcolm brilliantly captures the smarmy rush to canonize Johnny-come-lately President Obama at the expense of the true heroes and long-standing policies that made this moment possible.

Once again the American military does a magnificent job and makes us proud.

Our greatest (and smartest) President ever, including those in the future.

please check your editing - President Obama whacked Obama!

President Obama actually could have whacked Obama back in March without risking American lives simply by ordering a bombing run or two over the Osama compound in Abbotabad.

I love to see just how much Andrew Malcom hates the appreciation being given to our President Barak Obama. Lord knows he wishes that it was the ex-Loser In Chief GWB who would be receiving accolades. But the fact remains Bush was a failure.

Don't forget how COMPLETELY WRONG the pollsters, pundits and "think" tanks were about this President's candidacy. This tea-leafing bull is why I don't subscribe to these rags.

well ya this is all fine and dandy but when they figure out how to lower the gas prices i will jump for are minorities suposed to get back and forth to work if they can afford to get to just sayin

It's going to take more than a bump from bringing Bin Laden to justice (from a bipartisan effort, may I remind you) to make people conveniently forget he's the worst president in U.S. history.

Good job Obama. You authorized the take down of Osama. Thank you, and I truly mean that. Now... are we just supposed to forget that 2 weeks ago you were debating on whether or not to pay the brave soldiers that followed your command? Are we supposed to turn a blind eye to the bulging deficit and skyrocketing cost of healthcare, gasoline and groceries? How about the unemployment rate? Yeah... the American people SHOULDN'T be so easily fooled by one right thing Obama has done just to turn a blind eye to the myriad of things that are screwed up with this country.

I don't think this will cause enough of a jump in the polls to do him much good for a 2012 reelection... I'm still holding onto hope that the American people as a whole are not so easily fooled... but we shall see.

They wouldn't even let him sit at the table with the adults....

Remember those premature comparisons to Carter? An absurd comparison from the beginning and even more so now.

The fact that Obozo feels the need to take credit for something he had nothing to do with at all is appalling enough but to watch the endless fawning of the brainwashed mass media rushing to canonize this ineffectual, dishonest and obtuse administration is really disgusting. This temporary "bump" is going to vanish as fast as the aftereffects of the stimulus. The only hope he has for reelection is that the GOP shows itself as rudderless and amoral by nominating another standard bearer "brand approved" RINO like McCain that will drive more voters away from the ballot box out of sheer anger. Until someone demonstrates the courage to call for the return of all US troops stationed on foreign soil and an end to the endless empire building and waste, voters are going to be picking between dumb and dumber.

As of the death of Osama Bin Laden, I find there's been a metaphorical cloud of mystery surrounding the consequences. I myslef have been doing a bit of reading and have found the following article one of the more clear and reliable ones. (here's a link, if you'd like a look: Well anyway, hope this helped a little with context, and I'm sure more will come up as the media fuss calms down a little.


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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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