The Associated Press desperately wants to be associated with Obama’s re-election. Look at this headline on the road in Chandler, Arizona: “Upbeat and on a Roll, Obama Showing Some Swagger.”
Reporter Jim Kuhnhenn overhyped the latest polls, touted Obama’s soul singing being turned into a ringtone, and even cited Obama’s argument with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (unheard and untranscribed) as a positive sign of his “upbeat demeanor.” Get a load of the opening:
If President Barack Obama is showing some swagger, it shouldn't be a surprise.
His job approval ratings point to an uptick. The Navy SEAL unit that killed Osama bin Laden just pulled off a daring rescue that Obama authorized in Somalia. He's fresh off a big speech before Congress, and the Republicans who want his job are criticizing each other probably more than they are Obama.
As he hits the road for three days of travel to important political states, Obama is on a roll.
Feeling good, he even tried his hand at a bit of public crooning a few days ago, channeling the Rev. Al Green to a fundraising crowd at the Apollo Theater in New York and securing the highest of pop culture distinction: a ring tone.
Kuhnhenn came down out of the clouds for a minute to say it could be a “fleeting moment,” and unemployment is still at 8.5 percent. But hey, “A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows signs of increasing optimism that the economy will improve with 37 percent saying it will get better in the next year, the highest level in that poll in more than a year. For now, Obama is not hiding his upbeat demeanor.”
Then there’s this poll-mangling:
The spring in his step comes as polls show slight improvement in his job approval ratings. A Washington Post/ABC poll last week had him evenly split 48-48 on that question. A Gallup tracking poll has him even in recent surveys, compared with a few months ago when more disapproved than approved.
Actually, in the last two “recent surveys,” Obama’s been underwater by five or six points: yesterday’s three-day rolling average was 43 percent approve to 49 percent disapprove, and today’s numbers were 44/49.
But Obama had a spring in his step:
Arriving in Iowa on Wednesday, he jogged, grinning, to a rope line of a couple of dozen supporters....In a stop later in the day in Arizona, Obama stripped off his jacket and joked about the warm weather to a crowd at an Intel chip plant, seeming to revel in being out on the stump.
He even mixed it up with the state's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, confronting her over how she depicted him in her book.
Reporters "witnessed the two in intense conversation," but they had no doubt Obama won the exchange with all that swagger of his. You can tell because Kuehnenn insisted Obama "opposes Arizona's controversial immigration law." Earth to Kuehnenn: polls showed a majority of Americans favored the Arizona law, while they opposed Team Obama suing the Arizona government by 50 to 33 percent.
This is AP’s happy ending:
Political events are going his way as well.
Just as he stepped up his call for a minimum 30 percent tax rate for millionaires, Romney released his tax returns under pressure, revealing that he paid an effective tax rate of 14 percent. That not only underscored Romney's wealth, it also provided an argument for altering the nation's tax laws, a central element of Obama's re-election campaign.
Gingrich on Wednesday helped keep the focus on Romney's wealth, saying that the wealthy businessman lived in "a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatically $20 million income for no work."
Romney and Gingrich have been forced to target each other in the GOP presidential contest, freeing Obama from the fray. For instance, Romney has ads in Florida and Nevada blaming the housing crisis on Gingrich and concludes that nothing would make Obama happier than Gingrich winning the nomination.