CNN's Yellin Cherrypicks Poll Numbers to Spin for Obama
CNN's Jessica Yellin used a recent CNN poll Tuesday to give credence to the White House spin that President Obama is the victim of a bad economy he inherited from Bush. What Yellin failed to report was another CNN poll showing that Americans almost two-to-one disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy.
Yellin, on Tuesday's The Situation Room, touted a July 25 CNN poll showing that 57 percent of Americans believe Bush and the Republicans are more to blame than Obama and the Democrats for the current economic troubles. She added that the Obama White House could credibly use that poll result to deflect blame toward President Bush for the poor economy.
"So it's actually connecting with the American public to say that, you know, when the President says that he is ultimately responsible for fixing it, but he didn't cause the problem – it's a message that seems to be working for him," Yellin said of Obama. "And so they're continuing to try to use it to dig him out of some of his low favorable ratings when it comes to the economy right now," Yellin said of the White House.
She did acknowledge that the President has low economic approval ratings, but did not mention the specific poll finding. An August 8 CNN poll reports that 64 percent of Americans disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy.
Also, Yellin pulled from only a half sample in her reporting. The July 25 question about who was to blame for the economic troubles had two versions with two half samples. The other version showed more Americans by a slight margin blaming the Democrats for the economy.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 17 at 6:39 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
WOLF BLITZER: David, the President is in a tough spot, I should say. It sounds like he admits he is responsible, but doesn't want to take – doesn't want to receive the blame for the slow recovery. What's your take?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN senior political analyst: Well he's been very, very deft, I would have to say. And sort of whenever these kind of subjects come up, he does – sure shoves the blame in a different direction. And he said basically that we had a lot of headwinds that came out of Japan and so forth. But he also made it clear he thought that the Republicans - and again to go back to Jessica's point – he sort of camouflages it sometimes. He talks about Congress, but you know what he is really saying is the Republicans have caused this downgrade. So, he – you know, a lot of people find that disingenuous, that it is not really a serious conversation, but look, it is what got us – he's come a long way on those kind of arguments in the past. So, I guess the White House feels they're going to keep pushing it.
BLITZER: You know Jessica, we also heard the President say he has got a new jobs proposal he's going to release in September. You know, he wouldn't tell me what's in it. And I asked him, you heard me ask him what's taking so long. We have had a jobs crisis in the United States for two-and-a-half-plus years. Longer than that, I should say. But what are we hearing about this new proposal? Do we have any idea where it's going to take the U.S.?
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN chief White House correspondent: Well, they're working on it. There are a lot of potential elements of it that could involve different kinds of payroll tax credit possibilities, and different kind of policies that have been floating out there for a while, Wolf.
But what we know he'll do is put out a jobs, like a big jobs package that has a lot of these different policies together, into one comprehensive plan that he;ll release after Labor Day vacation. He will also, in addition that, put out a proposal what he believes and the White House believes this Super Committee should do. That sort of combination of revenues and taxes, combined. And then we will see him go on the road pushing and promoting this and making the case to the American public, and h ave him out there rolled up in his shirt sleeves, selling his case, so that he has a lot of distance from Congress. Because they think the closer he is to Congress, the lower his poll numbers go.
I would make one point really, going back to what David just said. Which is that the President has been deft, sort of saying the buck stops here, but other people are actually also to blame. A recent CNN poll said that most Americans, 57 percent, still say that Bush and the Republicans are mostly to blame for the economy. So it's actually connecting with the American public to say that, you know, when the President says that he is ultimately responsible for fixing it, but he didn't cause the problem – it's a message that seems to be working for him. And so they're continuing to try to use it to dig him out of some of his low favorable ratings when it comes to the economy right now.