‘Top Line’ — White House’s ‘Week of a Lot of Relaxed Exhales’

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 4, 2009 3:53pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: In a high-stakes week for President Obama — between a new Afghanistan strategy, the start of the Senate’s health care debate, and the release of new unemployment figures — things could have gone a whole lot worse for the White House. 

“No champagne corks — but this is a week of a lot of relaxed exhales for the White House,” George Stephanopoulos told us on ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” today
 

“They went into the Afghanistan speech fully expected to get blasts from all sides — worried that public support might just drop out on them; it didn’t happen,” he said. “Most polls, including the White House’s own, [are] showing by the end of the week … that a fair majority supports giving the president’s strategy a chance.”

“Number two, on this jobs number, they have been hoping for about 10 days that there might be a nice up-side surprise here because of some seasonal variations in the numbers, but they really weren’t expecting for the number to come down a full … two-tenths of a percent. So this was good news. They know it’s going to go bounce around for the next several months. They know it could go up again. But any encouraging news at this point is something they’re going to take to the bank.”

Stephanopoulos will be talking Afghanistan strategy on “This Week” Sunday, with headliners Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, plus Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., one of the leading critics of the president’s decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan.

The White House wants a majority of Democrats to support the president’s plan for Afghanistan, but “that’s going to be hard,” Stephanopoulos told us. “I think they’re hoping that the Democrats are going to feel a little bit better if health care passes, that they’re going to feel, you know, a strength in unity if that happens.”

“Number two, I think they’re hoping for some positive signs in Afghanistan over the next several months, because they are probably going to be able to get to the spring before this vote comes up,” he said.

Watch the segment with George Stephanopoulos HERE, and be sure to tune in to his program Sunday.  
 

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