The Note: Mincing and Parsing

While the news for Democrats isn't much better -- the party has merely a 32% approval rating among all Americans, while the all-important independents give the party a negative approval by a 38%-22% margin -- you can bet that the take-away message for Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Rahm Emanuel is this pair of numbers: 50%-37% -- the margin by which voters say they would prefer Democratic control of Congress after the midterm elections.

Full results of the WSJ/NBC poll are available at LINK

. As for the Pew survey, Andrew Kohut writes: "In the aftermath of the Dubai ports deal, President Bush's approval rating has hit a new low and his image for honesty and effectiveness has been damaged. Yet the public uncharacteristically has good things to say about the role that Congress played in this high-profile Washington controversy." LINK

What struck us more than President Bush's record-low 33% approval rating (statistically tied with congressional approval!) or the 56% of Americans who say the President is "out of touch" with what is going on with the government, was Kohut's write-up of the one-word description question.

Kohut: "The president's personal image also has weakened noticeably, which is reflected in people's one-word descriptions of the president. Honesty had been the single trait most closely associated with Bush, but in the current survey 'incompetent' is the descriptor used most frequently."

A survey by Wilson Research Strategies analyzing the DNC's televised ad that questions President Bush's past promises on various issues points out that "viewers gave the ad a rating of 6.2 on a scale of 1 to 10 for 'strong message,' on average. But the figure dipped to 4.9 for 'appealing,'" reports The Hill. LINK

"Chris Wilson, president of Wilson Research Strategies, Noted that while many viewers were unimpressed by the low-budget production they tended to trust it. On average, viewers gave the ad a 5.6 for 'credible.'"

White House shake-up?:

Mike Allen lists the following potential additions to President Bush's inner circle White House team in his time.com story: Don Evans, Josh Bolten, Rob Portman, Karen Hughes, Marc Racicot, Ed Gillespie, and Dan Coats. LINK

Deborah Orin's New York Post column has Terry Holt fueling the need for a shake-up fire and some very kind words for Karen Hughes. LINK

The politics of preemption:

"America is at war," is how the White House's newly-released 48-page national security strategy opens.

ABC News' Ann Compton reports that President Bush proceeds to describe what he calls the path of confidence as the US encourages democracy around the world. He calls the War on Terrorism a battle of arms and a battle of ideas.

In addressing threats, President Bush declares the US will, if necessary, act pre-emptively . . . in self defense, adding "we may face no greater challenge from any single country than from Iran."

The New York Times' David Sanger picks up on the identification of Iran as the greatest threat and Notes that the strategy "gives no ground on the decision to order a pre-emptive attack on Iraq in 2003." LINK

Sanger also Notes the somewhat tougher stance towards China and Russia.

The Washington Post's Peter Baker reports that the White House's new strategy document is strikingly similar to the document released in 2002 and "offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy" while placing a "greater emphasis on working with allies." LINK

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