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At End of 'Seismic Week,' Nets Relay Frustration Public Not Giving Obama Credit for 'All He's Accomplished'

"An earthquake hits Washington," fill-in ABC anchor David Muir announced Friday night as he gushed that "it comes as the President wraps up a seismic week." He soon noted how the First Family began a brief vacation in Maine which, he proposed, "comes after the President marked quite a week in Washington. The oil, for now, is finally stopped, and on the political front, his financial reform package finally passed." He pleaded: "So why such low poll numbers?"

Over "Getting His Due?" on screen, Jake Tapper related how "some Democrats have been grumbling that the public is not giving the President enough credit for all he's accomplished in such a short time."

The day before, NBC's Chuck Todd empathized with the frustration Obama must be experiencing given legislative victories "comparable to any President in history." Friday's Hardball on MSNBC carried the full question to Obama that Todd had posed 24 hours earlier in Michigan, but was cut short on Thursday's NBC Nightly News and not run on Friday's Today:

That must be frustrating. You've had an enormous amount of legislative victories - it's comparable to any President in history. It has not translated into political capital with the public. Honestly, are you frustrated by that?

Back to ABC, Tapper passed along how "Democrats argue, 18 months into his presidency, Mr. Obama has chalked up a number of legislative victories," such the "stimulus bill that many economists say staved off a depression; a major overhaul of America's health care system; and just yesterday, the biggest reform of Wall Street and the nation's financial system since right after the Great Depression."

The disconnect: "So what's going on? It's this: As unemployment has gone up, up, up, the President's approval rating on the economy has gone down, down, down." Tapper also pointed out how "the stimulus bill and health care legislation remain controversial, and Wall Street reform is so complicated, people are not sure what's in it, as Vice President Biden acknowledged to us in an interview to air Sunday on This Week."

As if increased knowledge will mean increased support.

(On Obama's health care agenda, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll numbers featured on ABCNews.com reflect public opposition by 51 to 44 percent, so his accomplishments aren't all that popular.)

From Thursday night: "CBS: Financial Reform 'Big Win' for Obama, Adds to 'Long List' of 'Accomplishments'"

From the Friday, July 16 ABC's World News, transcript provided by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:

DAVID MUIR, IN OPENING TEASER: D.C. rumble: An earthquake hits Washington, felt by the Secret Service. How rare is this? And it comes as the President wraps up a seismic week.

...

DAVID MUIR: President Obama, meantime, today said he didn't feel the earthquake. In fact, shortly after, the First Family left for a weekend in Maine, where today they visited Acadia National Park. And their getaway comes after the President marked quite a week in Washington. The oil, for now, is finally stopped, and on the political front, his financial reform package finally passed. So why such low poll numbers? Jake Tapper tonight breaks it down.

JAKE TAPPER: Some Democrats have been grumbling that the public is not giving the President enough credit for all he's accomplished in such a short time.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States will emerge stronger than before.

 

JAKE TAPPER: After all, Democrats argue, 18 months into his presidency, Mr. Obama has chalked up a number of legislative victories - an $862 billion stimulus bill that many economists say staved off a depression; a major overhaul of America's health care system; and just yesterday, the biggest reform of Wall Street and the nation's financial system since right after the Great Depression. So what's going on? It's this: As unemployment has gone up, up, up, the President's approval rating on the economy has gone down, down, down.

ANN SELTZER, POLLSTER: Accomplishments on paper are one thing. It's the change in real life that people aren't seeing.

TAPPER: The President's three big achievements came after compromises and fierce debate-

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Hell no, you haven't!

TAPPER: -passed on almost entirely party line votes. The stimulus bill and health care legislation remain controversial, and Wall Street reform is so complicated, people are not sure what's in it, as Vice President Biden acknowledged to us in an interview to air Sunday on This Week.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The financial industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying against this - this is an awful thing, it's government regulation. All it is is rational control, and a turning around of what the Republicans did, which is let Wall Street run wild.

MUIR: And so we bring in Jake Tapper tonight. Jake, one other number that caught our eye today. Public support of the war in Afghanistan. Take a look at these numbers, dropping from 52 percent to 43 percent just since December. Is the White House concerned about this?

TAPPER: Well, nobody sends tens of thousands of more troops into a war zone thinking that it's going to be a more popular decision. The administration knew that these months were going to be tough, with the situation going on in Kandahar and in Marja, but they say these decisions are not made with polls in mind, and ultimately, history judges wars as successful or unsuccessful, from the perspective of when they're over.

MUIR: Jake Tapper tonight.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter