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Barack Obama flops in Knox: the president’s speech was a train-wreck

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Published on: July 24, 2013

It’s been a rough few weeks for Barack Obama. A wave of scandals has undermined trust in the White House, and a series of major polls has hammered the president in the first year of his second term. Support for Obama has dropped to its lowest level in two years, with widespread public dissatisfaction over his handling of the economy. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this morning showed the president’s approval level at just 45 percent, with 50 percent disapproving. 56 percent of Americans are “pessimistic” or “uncertain” in “their feelings about how the president will do during the rest of his term,” and only 17 percent of Americans surveyed are “optimistic.”

Today’s speech at Knox College, Illinois, was supposed to be the president’s come-back moment, the first of a series of addresses aimed at retaking the initiative by the White House. Instead it was a train-wreck. In an hour-long address, which seemed to last forever (and par for course started 15 minutes late), the president spoke in deeply partisan terms, often with bitterness and anger, lambasting his political opponents, dismissing criticism of his policies, and launching into his favourite theme of class warfare, attacking the wealthy and what he calls the “winner takes all economy.” In a display of extraordinary arrogance (even by his standards), he condemned what he called “an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals,” a direct reference to the Congressional investigations into the IRS and Benghazi scandals, which most Americans don’t see as phony. He also defended his increasingly unpopular Obamacare proposals, attacking what he calls “a politically-motivated misinformation campaign,” while failing to acknowledge that moderate Democrats are “steadily turning against Obamacare” as The Washington Post reported today.

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