Bush faces highly dissatisfied electorate in speech - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/23/07 - Washington, D.C.

Bush faces highly dissatisfied electorate in speech

President Bush speaks at a meeting with representatives of insurance companies, banks and businesses to talk about health care savings accounts in this file photo. President Bush speaks at a meeting with representatives of insurance companies, banks and businesses to talk about health care savings accounts in this file photo.

When he gives his seventh State of the Union address Tuesday evening, President Bush will be facing a citizenry dissatisfied with his leadership by a 2-to-1 ratio.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, released on the eve of the speech, found only 34 percent of respondents approved of Bush's job performance while 63 percent disapproved.

The president's approval has changed little in recent days, the poll found. On January 11, it was 35 percent and, in mid-December, it was 36 percent. Last January, it was 43 percent.

The poll was carried out Friday through Sunday and was based on telephone interviews with 1,008 adult Americans. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3 points.

Its findings echo an Associated Press-AOL News poll conducted January 16-18 that put the president's approval rating at 36 percent.

In that AP poll, Americans listed health care, the economy and Iraq as the issues that concern them the most.

A new plan to make health insurance taxable income and give families a deduction on the first $15,000 in health insurance costs ($7,500 for singles) is among the "bold proposals" Bush will put forth in Tuesday's address, White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday.

Snow said Bush's plan "offers an opportunity to open up the health care system in a way that it's never had before."

Snow said Bush's "revenue-neutral" proposal on health care would boost costs for some people but would also raise the prospect that more than 100 million people "will pay less for health insurance and millions more not presently insured will have access to it."

The White House said this year's State of the Union address will not be a "laundry list" of proposals but will focus on a few topics -- including health care, immigration and energy policies.

The Republicans' November loss of a majority in Congress will not deter the president from addressing big issues, Snow said.

The president "understands his obligation as commander-in-chief is to go ahead and address forthrightly big problems and come up with solutions."

Asked whether Bush will discuss the increased violence in Iraq, Snow said, "He has talked about it. As the president also noted the other day, what's really going on is you can expect, as there is pushback, that there is going to be some increase in violence."

Still, he added, "There will be a significant amount of time devoted not just to Iraq, but to the war on terror."

Bush was planning to depart his weekend retreat at Camp David, Maryland, and return Monday to the White House to continue working on the speech, Snow said.

Asked how many drafts it has undergone, he said, "Let me just say we're in double digits. ... It's not high double digits."

Story courtesy of CNN Newsource.

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