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Wall Street Journal Editor Claims Bush's Poll Numbers Are Bouncing Back

Reported by Ellen - September 17, 2005

In a Hannity & Colmes interview Friday night (9/16/05), Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto, told Rich Lowry (subbing for Sean Hannity) that the "angry left's" attack on President Bush has backfired. "I think we've already seen the poll numbers start to bounce back." Later, when Alan Colmes challenged that assertion, Taranto couldn't cite any polls.

Taranto tried to make the case that Bush will bounce back because how a president responds to a national disaster has "not traditionally been important" to his legacy.

Comment: Maybe so, but I'd argue that it was the image of an out-of-touch Bush, refusing to cut short his vacation, acting as though the hurricane was none of his concern, while the rest of the nation was glued with horror to the TV screen, that did him in. To say that history won't remember Bush's response to the hurricane is like saying that nobody would remember Pappy Bush's supermarket gaffe of not knowing what a scanner was because nobody cares about a president's shopping habits.

Rather than provide any defense of the president's hurricane response, Taranto used the occasion to attack the left, as if that absolved Bush. "I think that the behavior of the angry left when the hurricane first struck and they saw an opportunity to beat up on Bush was really shameful. I mean, to some people in this country, Hurricane Katrina was this month's Cindy Sheehan. It was this month's excuse to pound President Bush."

Comment: I think it's shameful to call the public's dissatisfaction with the president, who vacationed while New Orleans sank, as partisanship. The polls clearly indicate that the majority of Americans disapprove of Bush's leadership in general and his handling of the hurricane, in particular.

To quote from Thursday's (9/15/05) FOXNews.com article entitled "Poll: Bush Rating at Record Low,"

Today, 41 percent of voters approve and 51 percent disapprove of President BushÂ’s performance, which is the lowest job rating he has received in a FOX News poll. The president's approval rating is down 4 percentage points from two weeks ago (45 percent, August 30-31), around the time the magnitude of Katrina's damage was becoming clear. Before the hurricane, 47 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved (July 26-27).

When questioned by Colmes about the claim that Bush's poll numbers are rebounding, Taranto said vaguely "I've seen some polls in which the approval rating is almost as high as the disapproval rating." Interestingly, he never named a single one.

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