People are always gonna like someone if they think they might be telling the truth more then everybody else that you been dealing with. So from what has been said, and what has been done so far he seems to be doing just that.
TOWSON, Md. — President Obama has seen his approval ratings slide, but a dozen independent voters who gathered here for a roundtable discussion about politics were still inclined to give him a break.
The area residents expressed deep worry about the country’s direction and a sobering view of the problems ahead. There was also a reservoir of good feeling for a president several referred to familiarly as “Barack.”
Asked what he would like to say to Obama, Scott Wood, 35, who has been looking for a job since February, advised: “Don’t give up yet; we haven’t.”
“We’ve found out he’s not Superman,” said Nora Seeley, 54, when asked what she had learned about the president during his first six months on the job. Still, she said, “things are starting to turn around.”
The focus group, held Wednesday night, was sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
There were some warning signs for the president in their assessment of his tenure so far. Several were concerned he was spending too much and moving too fast, especially on health care.
“Sometimes I think the speed he’s doing things — it’s a little bit of a gamble,” said Tim Polen, 24.
When Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who moderated the session, asked them what Obama’s spine was made of, two chose steel and metal.
The others’ choices ranged from Teflon and plastic to bamboo and wood. “Wet cement,” said Marsha Welder, 59, the account manager at a security firm, “because it’s going to dry.”
Afterward, Hart called those choices “pretty malleable.” That could reflect a sense that the new president’s mettle had not yet been fully tested.
Overall, however, Hart said the hopeful assessments of Obama provided a sort of counterweight to the decline in his standing. The USA TODAY/Gallup Poll last week put his job approval rating at 55% and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out Wednesday had it at 53%.
There was a broad consensus that Obama erred in weighing in on the controversy over the arrest of African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates at his home in Cambridge, Mass.
Obama said the police department had “acted stupidly” in arresting the Harvard professor, though he later tried to temper his words.
“That was a mess-up; he knows that,” Jeanne Chambers, 56, a registered nurse, said of Obama. But she went on, “I think it’s really cool the way he handled inviting the two to the White House for a beer,” saying she admired “his ability to admit a mistake.”
Hart posed a series of questions, some of them offbeat, during the two-hour session:
• Asked whom they would most want to be seated next to, eight said Obama. Two chose McCain.
• Asked whom they would like to go on vacation with, six said Bill and Hillary Clinton; three said the Obamas. “We all know that Bill knows how to have fun,” said Tom Stranger, 37, an accountant. When Hart asked who would choose the Clintons if they knew the former president wasn’t going to be along, however, no one raised his or her hand.