The Rushmore Report – Who Had the Higher Approval Rating at This Point in His Presidency, Obama or Trump?

For two years leading up to every presidential election, the biggest story in cable news is pre-election polls which indicate who is leading in the race. For the next two years, the biggest story is the sitting president’s approval rating. So at this point in their presidencies, whose approval rating was higher – Obama’s or Trump’s? The answer may surprise you.

The Rasmussen Report’s daily tracking poll – the most accurate in the business the last eight years – shows President Trump sitting at a 50 percent approval rating. At the same point in his first term, President Obama’s approval rating was 46 percent.

Yes, you read that correctly. Trump’s approval rating is ahead of Obama’s at this point in each presidency – by four points.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to have an edge in the generic ballot for the November congressional elections, but the gap is narrowing. The latest Fox News Poll has revealed a shrinking difference – from 15 points in October (50-35 percent) to just five points now (46-41 percent).

Giving further hope to Republicans, these generic ballots have traditionally undervalued conservative support. For example, at this same time in the run up to the 2014 midterm elections, such polls gave Democrats a two-point advantage, but they went on to lose 13 net Congressional seats. And in 2010, though Republicans held only a slim four-point lead in the polls, they gained a record 63 seats in the November elections.

In all but two midterm elections of the last 50 years, the party that held the White House lost congressional seats. This cycle will likely follow suite. But don’t believe the narrative being pedaled by most media outlets. They are trumping up Democratic optimism in order to suppress Republican turnout. Plus, it’s a lot easier to cover polls than real news stories.

Anyone can report on the lowest number of jobless claims since the Nixon Administration (yes, the Nixon Administration). Anyone can cover the decimation of ISIS, success in Iran, and record tax cuts. But it takes a real journalist to tell you who is ahead in a historically unreliable poll seven months before an election. Real news? That would be the daily report of how “Generic Democratic Candidate” is doing verses “Generic Republican Candidate.”

I’m not even sure of which state in which “Generic” is on the actual ballot. I guess that’s what makes it news.

Does Trump’s rise to 50 percent approval in the Rasmussen poll mean much? Probably not. Nor did Obama’s 46 percent rating matter much in 2010. And Generic Democrat’s five-point lead over Generic Republican doesn’t matter much, either.

Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats have an edge. But it’s not nearly as big as you’ve been told.

The Rushmore Report – President Trump’s Message to Democrats

President Trump went on a Twitter rage on Saturday night. His subject was mostly the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that took 17 lives. While addressing the shooting and expressing his opinions on what could be done in the future, the president had a very direct message to Democrats – one they don’t want to hear.

This was the president’s message:

“Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration? Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!”

As is usually the case, Mr. Trump’s tweet could have been toned down. But does he have a point? Sure he does. Under former president Barack Obama, Democrats passed the most sweeping reform to health care in American history – without a single Republican vote. They could do this because they had a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60-40, plus the majority of the House.

For two years, the Democrats passed every single law they introduced. But what was missing? Gun control.

On the heels of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which left 26 dead, the Democratic Congress did nothing. They could have passed a ban on assault weapons, but they didn’t. They could have passed universal background checks, but they didn’t.

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich (who is running for president in 2020 – ignore his statements to the contrary) said on Sunday that he has no confidence in Congress to do anything on guns.

“Do I think they can do something on guns? I hope they prove me wrong, but I have no confidence in them,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

This Congress can act, but it won’t be easy, as neither party can get what they want without buy-in from across the aisle. But there was a day – not that long ago – when Democrats had the votes to do whatever they wanted (as they did with Obamacare). They had a chance to pass gun legislation, and they whiffed.

On this point, President Trump is right.

The Rushmore Report: Obama’s Surprising Letter to President Trump

In a letter left on Inauguration Day for President Trump that was both congratulatory and cautionary, Barack Obama urged the incoming president to guard democratic institutions and traditions, and to “sustain the international order.” “This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful,” Mr. Obama wrote in the letter.

Obama continued, “Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past eight years.”

The letter was written in longhand on White House stationery and left in the top drawer of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. The letter highlighted the concerns of a departing president who acknowledged the enormous responsibility of the job domestically and on the world stage.

Mr. Obama wrote Mr. Trump, a billionaire who had family wealth and made fortunes in real estate, that “we’ve both been blessed in different ways, with great good fortune,” adding, “Not everyone is so lucky.”

It is important to “build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard,” he wrote. He emphasized that “our wealth and safety” depend on maintaining “the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War.”

He also made a case for preserving “instruments of democracy” regardless of what the “push and pull of daily politics” may bring.

It is a tradition for presidents who are leaving office to write letters to their successors offering advice and well wishes.

When George W. Bush left the Oval Office, he wrote to Mr. Obama: “There will be trying moments. The critics will rage. Your ‘friends’ will disappoint you. But, you will have an Almighty God to comfort you, a family who loves you, and a country that is pulling for you, including me.”

Mr. Obama advised Mr. Trump to spend time with friends and family, and wrote, “Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.”

Obama wished Mr. Trump “Good luck and Godspeed,” and signed it “BO.”

About the Author

Christina Caron is a correspondent for CNN.

The Rushmore Report: Democrats Who Were for the Border Wall – Until Trump Was for It

Today’s Democratic Party screams “Racism!” at the mere mention of a border wall. They ignore a few poignant points. First, dozens of countries around the world have border walls; this isn’t something new. Second, many prominent Democrats were for the border wall – until the unthinkable happened. Donald Trump was elected President. If he is for something, by definition, the Democratic Party is against it.

In 2006, several Democrats supported the wall, including a certain Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. A leaked internal memo from his 2008 presidential campaign confirmed his support for fencing, in order to cut down on illegal immigration.

One of Obama’s “core goals,” according to the memo: “Preserve the integrity of our borders to reduce illegal immigration.”

Obama’s position was confirmed in the following words: “Securing our borders will not solve the illegal immigration problem in isolation, but combined with an earned path to citizenship for the undocumented and new legal alternatives to unauthorized entry, some additional fencing could help get the border under control.”

A section titled “Fencing” says Obama “supports physical fencing along the border under very specific  circumstances, where it makes sense as a matter of security and to act as a deterrent to unsafe undocumented entry.”

So, judged by today’s Democratic definition, Mr. Obama was a racist. (They are clear – anyone who supported border security is racist.)

The Washington Free Beacon has found clips of other Democratic leaders who were for the border wall – until they were against it. These include Hillary Clinton, former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

So, playing politics with border security is in the Democrats’ playbook. They were for border security until they found out President Trump was for it – so now, naturally, they are against it.

The Rushmore Report: Obama’s Liberalism Paved the Way for Donald Trump

The rapid pace of change in American life does not exempt politics. Witness how fast Democrats are cycling through scapegoats. First came Hillary Clinton. When she emerged to gripe about all the reasons she lost last year, except herself, party activists told her to be quiet and go away. She has – for now. Next came Nancy Pelosi. When Republicans won four contested special elections for House seats, disgruntled Dems turned their fire on their minority leader, telling Pelosi it was time to get out of the way. She refuses – for now.

And now comes Barack Obama. The former president, shredding what was left of his promise to not interfere with his successor, is joining the fight against the repeal of Obamacare. He called the Senate bill an example of “meanness,” and pledged to campaign for the Democrat in the Virginia governor’s race.

For Republicans, luck can’t get much better. While Clinton and Pelosi were hardly innocent bystanders in the historic rout of Democrats at every level of government, the main culprit was Obama.

It was Obamaism, more than Clintonism or Pelosism, that elected Donald Trump and gave the GOP both houses of congress. The former president’s coercive liberalism at home and appeasement abroad led to the greatest upset in American politics.

His two biggest achievements, Obamacare and the Iran nuclear deal, were sold on the back of lies. President Trump is Obama’s legacy.

And now Mr. Obama wants to “help” Dems again. Let’s see how many Clinton and Pelosi critics have the courage to tell him “No, thanks, you’ve done enough.”

Obama’s desire to re-litigate his tenure comes amid other signs that the siege of the Trump White House is lifting and the political momentum is shifting.

Suddenly, Dems are the fighting, fractured party with no agenda or leader while Republicans finally show signs of uniting their majorities to get big things done.

Indeed, Obama’s return to the fray coincides with a belated congressional focus on his administration’s misconduct on the Clinton investigation and his failure to counter Russian interference in the election.

Most ominously, the Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into whether former Attorney General Loretta Lynch impeded the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private server, with members from both parties raising concerns about her role. They cited accusations by former FBI director James Comey and a published report that Lynch promised a top Dem that she would not let the Clinton investigation go far.

It’s hard to believe Lynch won’t be forced to testify publicly, an event that would revisit all the suspect twists and turns of the Clinton probe, including Lynch’s failure to impanel a grand jury. She also should be asked what, if any, orders she got from a White House invested in a Clinton victory.

The role of politics also surfaced when Obama’s former director of Homeland Security admitted that the administration decided to withhold public discussion about Russian hacking because of its possible impact on the campaign.

“This was a big decision, and there were a lot of considerations that went into it,” Jeh Johnson told the Senate. “This was an unprecedented step.”

He said the White House feared that accusing Russia of interference might have looked like an effort to help Clinton, especially given Trump’s claim that results would be “rigged.”

Obama’s decision to wring his hands and take no action until after the election, when he imposed minor sanctions on individual Russians, might explain his team’s efforts to pin the collusion tag on Trump. Those charges, made mostly by anonymous leaks, are catnip to the Democratic media and distract attention from Obama’s failure to respond to what has been described as a Russian act of war.

Taken together, last week’s extraordinary developments are injecting a dose of reality into the Washington scandal machine. For months, anonymous-sourced reports about various Trump associates having meetings with Russian officials painted a troubling picture and led to the appointment of a special counsel.

But when the Obama team’s role is highlighted, it too, looks very troubling. The implications of the president being paralyzed because he didn’t want to give Trump ammunition are almost as grave as the still unexplained surveillance, leaks, and unmasking of Trump associates.

From here, it all looks like the Obama White House is guilty of playing politics with national security. The possibility is worthy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s attention, who is so far exclusively focused on Trump’s team. That one-dimensional view must end.

About the Author

Michael Goodwin is a writer for Fox News.

The Rushmore Report: Trump vs Obama – Who Was Harder on the Media?

The mainstream media continues to react with righteous indignation over comments from President Trump and his top advisers. His statements about the “fake media” are unprecedented, right? Actually, Trump isn’t the only president to wage war on the press. In fact, when comparing the actions taken by President Obama vs Mr. Trump, it’s shocking – and not even close.

The Obama Administration began with lofty promises of being “the most transparent administration in history.” And as a child, I promised to be the first person in my family to walk on the moon. Saying it doesn’t make it so.

For those who are outraged at Trump’s treatment of the press, let’s rewind the tape.

Exhibit A – Freedom of Information Act

The Obama Administration set a record. According to the Associated Press, the self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in history” denied more Freedom of Information Act requests than any other administration in American history. Simply said, when the media cited their constitutional right to news that had been sealed by the Obama Administration, their request for “transparency” was consistently denied.

Exhibit B – War on Fox News

Early in its first year, the Obama Administration declared war on the most watched cable news channel in America. (It’s not even close.) Here’s what happened. The White House communications director, Anita Dunn, announced their intent to treat Fox News “like an opponent,” insisting, “we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Trump talks tough – criticizing CNN, for example. But Obama followed through with actions unprecedented by Trump or any other administration in modern American history. They denied Fox News from attending presidential press gatherings.

Exhibit C – Talk radio

President Obama made it a habit of criticizing conservative talk radio whenever his poll numbers dipped. Amazingly, he even said that these “domestic propagandists” were far more dangerous to America than any interference from hostile powers like Russia.

Exhibit D – Surveillance of James Rosen

When the State Department was criticized by Fox News’ James Rosen, they ordered his movements tracked and his phone records seized. It was later confirmed that they were monitoring his emails, as well.

Exhibit E – Treatment of the Associated Press

The AP underwent unprecedented surveillance by the Obama team. For two months, the Department of Justice tracked 20 AP reporters’ calls, following a reported failed plot in Libya. The crime? The AP reported the news before the Administration did.

It is pretty hard to justify some of the things President Trump tweets and says about the media. But he does have a point. As a specific example, he recently decried the media’s mishandling of his statement on “fake media.” Trump’s actual statement had been that the “fake media” was an opponent to his Administration. In his follow-up statement, he pointed out that they had incorrectly quoted him as saying the “media” was an opponent to his Administration.

Because I record so many political shows, I went back and watched the tape. Sure enough, George Stephanopoulos left out the all-important word “fake.” “President Trump said ‘the media’ is the opponent of his Administration,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

Again, Trump needs a trusted confidant to whisper (better yet, shout) in his ear, “Enough already with the incessant tweeting about the media.” But where he has spoken words, President Obama actually did things – unprecedented things – to harm the media and keep them from doing their constitutionally protected work.

Obama vs Trump. One Administration set the record for denying Freedom of Information requests. One Administration conducted surveillance on a reporter and an entire news organization. One Administration banned the most popular news cable network from their press conferences. And that Administration was not Donald Trump’s.

The Rushmore Report: Did Trump Make Up Wiretap Claim?

Last week, President Trump claimed that former President Obama had wiretapped his offices at Trump Tower. Predictably, the mainstream media has exploded over what they see as completely unfounded accusations. What they aren’t telling you is that there is more evidence for the wiretap claim than their own story of Trump colluding with Russia to affect to 2016 election.

I watch all the Sunday news shows: Meet the Press, This Week with George Staphanopoulos, Face the Nation, Inside Politics, and Fox News Sunday. It’s the cross I bear. Each show blasted Trump for his allegations, void of evidence and outrageous in content. Here’s what they missed . . .

There is more evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump’s office than that Trump colluded with Russia.

Let’s take that last part first. For five months – yes, five months – we have been hearing that Trump’s cozy relationship with President Putin and Russian leaders led him to a full collusion with Russia to fix the recent presidential election. Yet, when interviewed on several news shows, James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence under Obama, had to admit they had zero evidence of such collusion. Other Democratic leaders, such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), were forced to agree.

Despite continued media coverage of this fake story, no one has produced a single piece of evidence to support this claim. 

Now, for the wiretap claim. There actually is some evidence that Team Trump has been monitored in an unlawful and secretive way. Here’s the evidence to support his Twitter claim.

1. In January, BBC’s Paul Wood reported that a federal task force within the Obama administration sought a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor three Trump associates. (The request was denied.)

2. Also in January, The Guardian wrote: “We have learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.”

3. A few days later, The New York Times reported that Obama administration law enforcement was “examining intercepted communications and financial transactions” related to “possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump.”

Does any of this prove the Obama administration conducted illegal surveillance of Mr. Trump? Of course not. But at least there is some evidence to support Trump’s claim – flimsy as it is.

On the other hand, the media’s claim of Trump colluding with Russia has yet to produce a single piece of evidence. Still, they keep repeating the claim – daily. The thinking, I suppose, is that if they repeat the same conjecture enough times, that will make it magically become true.

For eight years, Sean Hannity has said journalism in America is dead. He may have a point.

The Rushmore Report: Obama Holds His Tongue – for 10 Days

President George W. Bush said he’d refrain from criticizing his successor. He held true to that promise – for eight years. President Obama said he’d try to honor that same tradition, practiced by presidents of both parties for generations. And he did refrain from publicly criticizing President Trump – for ten days. He can’t help himself. This is what he had to say.

Obama lashed out at Trump’s executive order curbing immigration. In a statement issued Monday, he even backed protesters who have taken to the nation’s airports, disrupting travelers, in protest of Trump’s actions.

He released a statement. “The President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” said spokesman Kevin Lewis.

One would hope that as a former president, Mr. Obama would show some restraint. When Bush was asked why he never criticized Obama, even when Obama blamed his presidency for everything from global warming to the Chicken Pox, Bush said, “We have one president at a time. America must speak with one voice.”

If Obama insists on on criticizing Trump every ten days, one would hope he’d at least speak from a point of reality. He disagrees “with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”

In responding to this, it’s hard to know where to begin.

First, Trump isolated the exact seven countries Obama himself had identified as training grounds for terrorists who target American lives and democracy.

Second, Obama did what Trump is going to do – but for six months, not three. In 2011, Obama banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. (Where was the media outcry then?)

Third, Trump’s executive order said nothing – zero, zilch – about “faith or religion.” It never mentioned Islam in any way. In fact, if Trump was seeking to ban refugees because of their Muslim faith, why would he stop with seven countries? There are fifty other countries with a majority Muslim population, yet Trump only banned immigrants and refugees from the seven countries Mr. Obama had targeted himself.

When Bush was about a year out of office, I attended a dinner event in Houston, where he was the keynote speaker. Addressing a mostly conservative crowd, he had every opportunity to criticize President Obama. But he never said a single negative word. It showed a lot of class, sophistication, and patriotism.

That’s not to say Obama must follow his example. At this rate, we can expect Obama to speak out against Trump 288 times if he is in office as long as Obama was.

But the First Amendment applies to ex-presidents as much as it does to anyone else. Mr. Obama has a right to speak out. But it would be nice if he would at least stick to the facts.

It’s hard to know why Obama did what he did. Perhaps he is offering heartfelt criticism for the betterment of the nation. Perhaps he is intentionally misrepresenting the facts. Or perhaps, as one person said on Twitter, he is simply auditioning for a role as a news anchor for the mainstream media.

The Rushmore Report: President Obama’s Final Speech – 10 Memorable Lines

Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered what was billed as his “final speech” as the 44th president of the United States. Speaking from his adopted hometown of Chicago, the president took credit for the successes of the past eight years, while offering his unique perspective on the direction of the country going forward. Ten memorable lines stood out.

Mr. Obama called on the country to be “anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.” The speech centered on the values of the democratic system despite challenges he perceives from his successor, Donald Trump, though he only named him once.

These are the most memorable lines from his speech.

1. On democracy: “Democracy can buckle when it gives in to fear.”

2. On Michelle: “You have made me proud, and you have made the country proud.”

3. On believing in America: “Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can.”

4. On the lack of common ground: “It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating, because as my mom used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.”

5. On race in America: “After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic.”

6. On American exceptionalism: “Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but we have shown the capacity to change and make life better for those who follow.”

7. On setbacks: “For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed.”

8. On bipartisanship: “All of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, must help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

9. On political discourse: “We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter into public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and when we sit back and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.”

10. On “four more years” chants: “I can’t do that.”

It was an excellent speech, one of the president’s finest. His tribute to his family, Vice President Joe Biden, and the American people was heartfelt, moving, and sincere. It was a good night for all Americans, no matter their political persuasion, to hear their elected leader at his best. His claims of success can be debated by others. This was a time for our president to take the well-deserved spotlight one more time. And in the bright lights of Chicago, he did well.

Watching the peaceful transition of power in President Obama’s speech reminds all of us that this is still the greatest country on earth.

The Rushmore Report: Obama’s Top 5 Achievements & Top 5 Failures

As President Obama’s eight years in the White House wind toward closure, his presidency is already being judged by historians and pundits. A recent USA Today poll gives him a 57 percent approval rating. And to be sure, he can boast of some significant achievements over the past eight years. But there have been failures, as well. Here, we will identify five of his greatest successes – and failures. You be the judge.

Five Achievements

1. The Affordable Care Act – Obama supporters consider this to be his chief domestic achievement. It is indisputable that Obamacare provided health insurance for millions of previously uninsured Americans.

2. The killing of Osama Bin Laden – Obama authorized the raid that took out the terrorist dictator. As Commander in Chief, he deserves credit for that which happened on his watch. This was a great victory for national security.

3. Stimulating the auto industry – After the Great Recession, the auto industry was on life support. Through initiatives early in office, the President provided relief, resulting in 250,000 new jobs for GM and Chrysler under Obama’s watch.

4. Dodd-Frank Act – Mr. Obama led Congressional passage of this new law which holds Wall Street accountable in the event of another financial crisis.

5. Economic recovery – Taking over a poor economy, President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, cutting taxes and saving millions of jobs. The jobless rate has hit historic lows (though millions have quit looking for jobs.)

Five Failures

1. Partisan division – The president jammed through the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote. This set the tone for historic partisanship, as he governed with little input from Republicans while by-passing Congress with a record number of executive orders. Meanwhile, he blames Republicans for failure to pass immigration reform, when he could have done so with no Republican input (as he did with Obamacare) during his first two years in office, while Democrats still controlled both the House and the Senate.

2. Exploding national debt – After calling President Bush’s $10 trillion debt “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” his policies led to more debt than the previous 43 presidents accumulated – combined.

3. Failure to deter Iran and ISIS – The world’s chief export of international terrorism is stronger than ever. They scoff at Obama’s unenforced rhetoric (“red line”), while he continues to free terrorists whose stated intent is to re-engage in American attacks. As for ISIS, his miscalculation (remember “the JV team” quote?) and refusal to even identify the enemy (radical Islamic terrorists) have led to an utter failure to defeat the enemy.

4. Failing housing market – The burst of the housing bubble has cost Americans more than $7 trillion in home equity. Home values have fallen under Obama, and now stand at 2002 levels.

5. Overpromising economic recovery – Referring to the recession, Obama told Matt Lauer in 2009, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s gonna be a one-term proposition.” Instead, Obama has engineered the slowest economic recovery in American history.