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Tags: Sarkozy | Hillary | Zogby | Taxpayer Funds for Abortions | Norman Podhoretz | Peter Orszag

France's Sarkozy Now 'Anti-Obama'

By    |   Sunday, 03 January 2010 04:43 PM

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. France’s Sarkozy Now ‘Anti-Obama’
2. Hillary Most Popular D.C. Leader
3. Zogby: Independents Can Give GOP the Edge
4. Mississippi Is the Most Religious State
5. Taxpayer Funds for Abortions ‘Extremely Unpopular’
6. We Heard: Norman Podhoretz, NBC News, Peter Orszag


1. France’s Sarkozy Now ‘Anti-Obama’

Soon after Barack Obama won the White House, French President Nicolas Sarkozy referred to him as “my friend” and strove to become the first European leader to meet with the newly elected American.

Now the honeymoon between the two leaders is over, according to The Financial Times.

Sarkozy has now shifted to “an anti-Obama position,” said Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, a spokesman for the opposition Socialists.

France turned down an American request to send more troops to Afghanistan, and Sarkozy has expressed frustration at what he perceives as Obama’s equivocation over Iran’s nuclear program and at the priority Obama has placed on the long-term goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, the Times reports.

In a sharply worded speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Sarkozy alluded to Obama’s disarmament goals.

“We are right to talk about the future, but before the future there is the present, and the present is two major nuclear crises,” he said, referring to Iran and North Korea. “We are living in a real world, not a virtual world.”

Jack Kelly wrote on the Real Clear Politics Web site that Sarkozy “was furious with Barack Obama for his adolescent warbling about a world without nuclear weapons” at a meeting Obama chaired of the United Nations Security Council.

Sarkozy is reportedly still miffed over Obama’s refusal to attend an event with the French leader during his June visit to France to commemorate the D-Day landings, and has made disparaging comments about Obama’s decision-making and lack of prior government experience.

“French frustration is aimed at Washington’s hesitancy or even weakness,” according to the Times.

But Sarkozy could be stressing his differences with the U.S. for domestic purposes, one senior French official disclosed, adding, “On the fundamentals we are much closer to President Obama than we were to President Bush.”

Editor's Note:

2. Hillary Most Popular D.C. Leader

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most popular figure among leaders in Washington, D.C., a new poll reveals — but almost all the leaders in the poll are rated negatively by respondents.

The Harris Interactive survey asked more than 2,270 adults to rate the performance of eight leaders and both parties in Congress. But a majority of those polled were not familiar with five of the eight congressional leaders and Cabinet members, confirming “that only a minority of the public is familiar with more than a small number of leaders in D.C.,” Harris analysts wrote.

Some survey results:

  • 82 percent of respondents said they were familiar with Hillary Clinton, 72 percent with Vice President Joe Biden, and 71 percent with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • A minority were familiar with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader John Boehner.
  • Only two of the eight leaders were rated more positively than negatively. Clinton was rated positively by 48 percent of respondents, and negatively by 34 percent, with the rest saying they were not familiar with her job performance. Gates was rated positively by 28 percent and negatively by 21 percent.
  • Pelosi had the largest margin between positive and negative —    22 percent rated her positively compared to 49 percent who rated her negatively.
  • Hillary Clinton’s positive rating has remained fairly steady. It stood at 49 percent in March, 47 percent in June, and 48 percent in September.
  • Democrats in Congress were rated positively by only 18 percent of those polled — down from 25 percent in March — while 50 percent rated them negatively.
  • Republicans in Congress fared even worse — they were rated positively by 14 percent and negatively by 50 percent.

“Most people with opinions continue to hold much more negative than positive feelings about Washington and most of our federal government leaders,” Harris analysts observed. “It is reasonable to expect this to continue until the economy is seen to be improving.”

As for Hillary’s popularity, Harris noted that both secretaries of state in the George W. Bush administration, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, were also ranked high in popularity, adding: “Whether that is because fewer people blame [secretaries of state] for the country’s economic and domestic problems or because they are often seen on a world stage, this survey does not tell us.”


Editor's Note:

3. Zogby: Independents Can Give GOP the Edge

Despite Republican losses in the last two national elections, polling data indicate that the GOP has the potential for big gains thanks to conservatives’ strength among independent voters, according to pollster John Zogby.

A Zogby International Interactive poll of more than 2,290 likely voters found that twice as many independents identify their political ideology as conservative than as liberal.

Conservatives account for 25 percent of independents, while liberals comprise 13 percent, with almost all the rest saying they are moderates.

Also, independents are much more likely to say that Democrats are     too liberal (63 percent) than to say Republicans are too conservative    (40 percent). And 28 percent of independents think Republicans should be more conservative, while only 12 percent believe Democrats should be more liberal.

Among Republicans, 58 percent say the party is not conservative enough.

The GOP “has failed to capture a significant number of conservatives and a majority of its own members think it is not conservative enough,” Zogby wrote in his column for Politics magazine.

Democrats need to win significant numbers of moderates to be competitive, he said, adding, “So do Republicans, but not to the same extent."

“This is the challenge and the opportunity for the Republican Party today. The opportunity lies in the fact that it can grow to both its left as well as its right, and the challenge is to find a strategy that will lead to this growth on both sides,” he said. 

Editor's Note:

4. Mississippi Is the Most Religious State

A majority of Americans consider religion very important in their life, believe in God with absolute certainty, and pray at least once a day, according to a survey that found Mississippi as the most religious state.

The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life used polling data to rank the states on four measures: the importance of religion in people’s lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer, and absolute certainty of belief in God.

Mississippi was No. 1 in all four categories.

More than 8 in 10 people in the Magnolia State say religion is very important in their life. Alabama and Arkansas follow at 74 percent, and Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina are at 70 percent or above.

New Hampshire/Vermont is last with 36 percent (states with sample sizes that are too small to analyze are combined, Pew noted). The national average is 56 percent.

In Mississippi, 60 percent of residents say they attend religious services at least once a week, ahead of Utah (57 percent) and South Carolina   (54 percent). Alaska is last with 22 percent, and the national average is 39 percent.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans nationwide say they pray at least once a day, with Mississippi at No. 1 (77 percent) followed by Louisiana (76 percent) and Alabama (73 percent). Maine is last at 40 percent, while Massachusetts and Alaska are both at 41 percent.

More than 9 in 10 Mississippians say they believe in God with absolute certainty, while 86 percent of residents in South Carolina and Alabama feel that way. New Hampshire/Vermont (54 percent) and Connecticut/Rhode Island (57 percent) are at the bottom in that category, and the national average is 71 percent.

Editor's Note:

5. Taxpayer Funds for Abortions ‘Extremely Unpopular’

The use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions has been one of the most contentious issues surrounding the healthcare reform debate, but the position of the great majority of Americans is clear: They oppose it.

A new Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters found that 72 percent do not approve of allowing abortions to be paid for with public funds under any healthcare system created by the federal government.

The survey asked respondents, “Do you support or oppose allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds under a healthcare reform bill?”

Only 23 percent said they support the idea, and 5 percent did not know.

“Although a small majority favors abortion rights, allowing the use of public money for the procedure under a national healthcare plan, which has been a matter of some dispute in both houses on Congress, is extremely unpopular,” said Pat Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Republicans oppose public funding for abortions by a 91 percent to         5 percent margin. Most Democrats also oppose funding, 54 percent to  38 percent. Among independents, only 23 percent support funding and  74 percent oppose it, according to the poll of more than 1,600 registered voters.

Both the House and Senate versions of the healthcare reform bill contain restrictions on the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions. And the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976 and renewed consistently since then, bars the use of federal funds for subsidizing abortion within Medicaid.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .  

THAT neoconservative guru Norman Podhoretz has received the Center for Security Policy’s Mightier Pen Award.

The award has been given since 2001 “in recognition of individuals who have, through their published writings, contributed both to the public appreciation of the need for robust U.S. national security policies and the perpetuation of military strength as indispensable ingredients in international peace,” according to the Center.

Podhoretz served as editor in chief of Commentary Magazine from 1960 to 1995, and is now editor-at-large. He has written hundreds of articles for major American periodicals, lectured at many universities and before civic and religious groups on foreign policy, American culture, and Jewish affairs.

THAT the Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee has issued a statement saying it is “appalled” that NBC News provided the plane that carried David Goldman and his 9-year-old son Sean back to the U.S. from Brazil after a high-profile custody battle.

Goldman’s wife took Sean to Brazil when he was 4 years old. She remained there with the boy, divorced Goldman and remarried, but died in childbirth, and Goldman fought for five years to have Sean returned to him. A judge in Brazil recently ruled in Goldman’s favor.

The Committee’s statement said NBC “conducted an exclusive interview with David Goldman during the flight it financed and another exclusive interview once the Goldmans returned to the United States. Journalists know this practice as ‘checkbook journalism’” which “has no place in the news business.”

The statement also declared that “NBC jeopardized its journalistic independence and credibility in its initial and subsequent reports . . . NBC’s ability to report the story fairly has been compromised by its financial involvement.”

THAT Peter Orszag, President Obama’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, is engaged to ABC News financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga.

Orszag, a 41-year-old divorced father of two, met Golodryga, 31, when the two were seated together at the White House Correspondents Association dinner in May, according to Politico. They’re planning an October wedding.

Orszag’s OMB is responsible for crafting the federal budget and monitoring federal programs. Golodryga has covered the housing and credit crisis and other financial matters since joining ABC News in 2007.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. France s Sarkozy Now Anti-Obama 2. Hillary Most Popular D.C. Leader 3. Zogby: Independents Can Give GOP the Edge 4. Mississippi Is the Most Religious State 5. Taxpayer Funds for Abortions Extremely Unpopular 6. We...
Sarkozy,Hillary,Zogby,Taxpayer Funds for Abortions,Norman Podhoretz,Peter Orszag
Sunday, 03 January 2010 04:43 PM
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