Thanks so much for joining us. It's First Lady Michelle Obama's birthday today, but her husband is not going to consider the new ABC News-Washington Post poll any sort of gift. Take a look at these numbers.
Job approval. In April, 69 percent approved. Now that's down to 53 percent. It gets worse when you bear into some of the key issues. Majorities disapprove of the president's handling of health care and the economy. One bright spot, 55 percent approve of how he handled the threat of terrorism.
Perhaps most concerning for President Obama, 62 percent of those polled say the country is headed in the wrong direction, the key right track/wrong track numbers, the worst that's been in 10 months.
George, what's going on here?
WILL: Well, to his credit, this is a serious president who has decided not to hoard his political capital. To govern is to choose; to choose is to make someone unhappy. And he's made a lot of choices, almost all of them, in my judgment, unfortunate, but he won the election. He gets to do that. So he's been a serious man.
Furthermore, with regard to health care, all this investment in an unpopular bill, there is a strand of liberalism of which I think he is an exemplary that says the fact that it's unpopular demonstrates how important it is to pass it. That is, supervisory liberalism says the American people really don't know what's in their best interests and it's our job to tell them. He's telling them.
TAPPER: Katrina, are you disheartened by these poll numbers?
VANDEN HEUVEL: No. I mean, I think there was such great expectations on that glorious day a year ago, the inauguration, that this is to be expected, in many ways. I do think that some of it -- and he is a serious man, and he has summoned this country to address challenges it can no longer confront, but he has not been Barack the outsider coming into a city to change it, as he spoke about, partly because change doesn't come with one election. Change doesn't come easy, especially in this town with the lobbies and the wall of money.
I do think he has -- if he does pass this health bill, with all of the flaws, it's a monumental achievement, and it reverses a string of conservative successes, and it brings government into a new role.
The main problem, in my view, is the economy. He assembled a team which paid more attention to Wall Street than to the hurting communities in this country. And the step forward now is to get back on the side of working people in this country, job creation. Do what is needed to rebuild and reinvest in this country.
TAPPER: And, Tucker, do you think that's right? I mean, does he need more populism? Is he not perceived as the outsider that people thought he was electing?
CARLSON: Well, I actually don't think it's about him. If -- if you look at these numbers, he is still personally popular, and I think even in the -- in the dead of the midterms, when his party gets hurt -- and I think it will -- he will still be popular, because he's an appealing person. He's got a lot of charisma. People like him.