CBS Highlights How Only Nixon Had Lower Approval in Second Term

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-11-02-CBSENBushNixon.jpg" />Wednesday's <i>CBS Evening News</i> touted a <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/11/02/opinion/polls/main1005252.shtm... poll</a> by the network which found, as anchor Bob Schieffer relayed, that “the President's job approval has reached the lowest level yet” at “only 35 percent” with Congress “rated even lower” at a mere “34 percent,” but Bush and Congress are doing a lot better than Vice President Cheney whose “favorable rating is down nine points this year to just 19 percent.” Over side-by-side head-shot videos on screen of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, with Bush's 35 percent approval below his image and Gallup's 27 percent finding beneath the shot of Nixon, John Roberts pointed out how “the only recent President lower at this point in their second term was Richard Nixon.” Roberts asked and answered: “What's behind the slide: 2,000 war dead in Iraq, an indictment in the CIA leak, the aborted Harriet Miers nomination, the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina.&quot;<br /><br />Roberts warned that “yesterday's shutdown of the Senate shows the political danger of presidential drift. Democrats sat back and watched for an opening, then moved right in.&quot; He proceeded to deliver an unobjectionable rundown of advise offered by Reagan chief-of-staff Ken Duberstein: “This week's Alito nomination and the President's bird flu speech were the first steps in a turnaround, says Duberstein, but the White House still needs to lose the bunker mentality, let in new ideas.&quot; In conclusion, Roberts cautioned, &quot;So far, there's no indication that President Bush is considering any of the outside advice to shake up the White House, but one thing is clear: If he doesn't find his footing soon, suggestions for change will quickly turn into demands.&quot; (Full transcript follows)<br /><br />
<!--break--> As corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, the November 2 <i>CBS Evening News</i> story and intro on the network's latest poll: <br /><blockquote>Bob Schieffer: &quot;Not much got done in Washington today, but tempers did cool a little after the partisan meltdown that brought Senate business to a halt yesterday. Even so, neither Congress nor the White House will find much in a new CBS News poll to put them in a better humor. The President's job approval has reached the lowest level yet: Only 35 percent approve [57% disapprove] of the job he's doing. Congress is rated even lower: Only 34 percent approve its work [53% disapprove]. Vice President Cheney has never been as popular as the President, but his favorable rating is down nine points this year to just 19 percent [44% unfavorable]. So where does the White House go from here? The President is finding no shortage of advice, and we go now to John Roberts for more on that.&quot;<br /><br />John Roberts: &quot;The plunge in poll numbers is another dose of bad news for a White House mired in it. The only recent President lower at this point in their second term was Richard Nixon. What's behind the slide: 2,000 war dead in Iraq, an indictment in the CIA leak, the aborted Harriet Miers nomination, the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina.&quot;<br /><br />Ken Duberstein, former White House Chief of Staff: &quot;The President, I think, has bottomed out. I think last week was the bottom.&quot;<br /><br />Roberts: &quot;Ken Duberstein doesn't like what he sees. Part of a team Ronald Reagan brought in to help recover from the Iran-Contra scandal, Duberstein wrote a prescription for change in today's New York Times.&quot;<br /><br />Duberstein: &quot;I think that they need to bring in some new blood, but new blood that would give the President differing opinions, not somebody who has been burned out for four or five years, but somebody who has a fresh perspective.&quot;<br /><br />Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, on Senate floor Tuesday: &quot;I now move that Senate go into closed session.&quot;<br /><br />Roberts: &quot;Yesterday's shutdown of the Senate shows the political danger of presidential drift. Democrats sat back and watched for an opening, then moved right in.&quot;<br /><br />Richard Durbin, Senate Minority Whip: &quot;Over 60 percent of the American people say we want this country moving in a significantly new direction. They are looking for vision and leadership. They are looking for a voice, and that's why the Democrats have to step up.&quot;<br /><br />Roberts: &quot;The battle is over momentum heading into an election year. The White House lost it. The Democrats want it. And Republicans in Congress are desperate to hang on to whatever threads are left.&quot;<br /><br />Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader in front of “Get SMART!” on wall behind him: &quot;Well, the progress is there, and the momentum is there, and we're going to deliver for the American people. I see signs of obstruction around here all the time. Too much for me, but we're just going to kind of move it, try to stay above it.&quot;<br /><br />Roberts: &quot;This week's Alito nomination and the President's bird flu speech were the first steps in a turnaround, says Duberstein, but the White House still needs to lose the bunker mentality, let in new ideas.&quot;<br /><br />Duberstein: &quot;This country can't afford three years of drift, and neither can the world. The President of the United States has to be at the top of his game.&quot;<br /><br />Roberts: &quot;So far, there's no indication that President Bush is considering any of the outside advice to shake up the White House, but one thing is clear: If he doesn't find his footing soon, suggestions for change will quickly turn into demands.&quot;</blockquote>

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center