With a handful of foreign crises abroad and a stagnant domestic agenda marred by mini-scandals back home, President Obama's approval rating has fallen to a record low of 41 percent, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Obama previously tanked to 41 percent back in March, so the dip is a return to the lowest level ever marked in the survey.
Obama received equally dismal marks on every issue, as well. His net -20 percent approval rating on foreign policy is his lowest ever; only 11 percent say he's "very competent" — a lower mark than the 14 percent George W. Bush recorded, post-Katrina, at the same point in his presidency; and 54 percent say Obama "cannot lead and get the job done."
Obama's marks are so bad, NBC political analyst Chuck Todd said, that it's "as if the public is saying, 'Hey, buddy, your presidency is over.'"
With more than two years to go in Obama's second term, that reading seems a bit premature. Obama has bottomed out before only to rebound, so it's not impossible for him to do so again. For now though, Americans' overwhelming sentiment is clear: Obama stinks at his job. Jon Terbush
The media is back at it with its "gotcha" questions, according to Donald Trump, and this time they're from conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. In a live radio interview Thursday discussing U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Hewitt prompted Trump to name the leaders of ISIS, Iran's Quds Force, Hezbollah, the al-Nusra Front, and al Qaeda.
Trump's response: He didn't know — yet. "You know, I'll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they'll all be changed. They'll all be gone," Trump said in the interview. The Independent notes that Hezbollah has had the "same Secretary General for the past 23 years."
The interview went further downhill when, after Trump mixed up the Quds Force and the Kurds, Hewitt corrected him. Of course, Trump isn't one to admit defeat, so he took to MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday to lash out at Hewitt and call him a "third-rate radio announcer."
"When you say Kurds vs. Quds, I thought he said 'Kurds,'" Trump said. "And it was like 'got you, got you, got you,' and every question is, 'do I know this one, and that one.' You know he worked hard on that."
"Now, this is a problem, because anyone who has the clearances that the secretary of state... knows how classified information should be handled," Snowden said. "And if an ordinary worker at the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency, or anything like that were sending details about the security of embassies over unclassified email systems, they would not only lose their job and lose their clearance. They would very likely face prosecution for it."
Later in the interview, Snowden also expressed incredulity at Donald Trump's candidacy and labeled Russian President Vladimir Putin an "authoritarian." Watch the full exchange below. Bonnie Kristian
A Denver CBS station has obtained footage that has been concealed from the public since the incident that was caught on camera occurred in February.
Two TSA agents, Ty Spicha and Yasmin Shafi, plotted to manipulate their airport security checkpoint to allow Spicha to fondle male passengers he found attractive. Shafi would tell the body scanner the passenger being screened was female so it detected an irregularity in the genital region. This allowed Spicha to conduct an unjustified pat-down of that area. In the video clip, we see their plan in action:
Another TSA employee reported the plot to superiors. Spicha and Shafi were fired, but no charges were filed. In response to this incident, the TSA has promised more training "in the long run." Bonnie Kristian
Kentucky's Rowan County isn't as conservative as this week's hoopla over issuing same-sex marriage licenses may have made it out to be, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the county's elected local clerk, Kim Davis, has rejected same-sex marriage in her refusal to grant marriage licenses, the county's demographics and voting records suggest that not all of Rowan County shares Davis' conservative standings:
Rowan County is classified as a College Town in the American Communities Project, a data analysis project based at American University. It was one of only eight counties in Kentucky that voted for Barack Obama in 2008. In 2013, Morehead, the home of Morehead State, became only the sixth city in Kentucky to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people. [The Wall Street Journal]
However, while Rowan County may have less socially conservative leanings, it is nestled amid counties classified as "Working Class Country counties," which The Wall Street Journal reports are "places that are marked by strong socially conservative attitudes and values." While 56 percent of those in counties classified as College Towns support gay marriage, a 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that only 36 percent of those in Working Class Country counties do.
The juxtaposition of that conservatism with Rowan County's more liberal leanings might be exactly why tensions between religion and social issues erupted there this week. Read the full analysis of Rowan County over at The Wall Street Journal. Becca Stanek
Forget Thomas Dewey and Harry S. Truman: There's a new triumphant presidential upset brewing. Just ask The New Yorker:
KANYE 2020 USE THIS ONE pic.twitter.com/viU8hIIczH
— Silvia Killingsworth (@silviakillings) September 4, 2015
There's one 2016 matchup that Donald Trump doesn't stand a chance at winning, a new Monmouth University poll finds. While The Donald dominates just about everyone else in the Republican field in a head-to-head matchup, he loses to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson by a whopping 19 percentage points. Faced with the choice of Trump versus Carson, voters chose Carson over Trump, 55 percent to 36 percent.
However, outside of a head-to-head matchup, Trump still leads Carson — and everyone else — by a strong margin in the national polls. The Monmouth University Poll shows Trump in first place with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Carson with 18 percent of the vote. But even if Carson isn't beating Trump in the national polls just yet, Trump had still better watch his back. Carson is quickly gaining traction among Republican voters, with support for him up 5 percent from the last Monmouth poll taken before the Republican debate.
The poll, conducted between August 31 and September 2, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points. Becca Stanek
The American economy added 173,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. It's a definite downgrade from the 215,000 initially reported in July, and the 244,000 average of the past year. But on the plus side, both June and July numbers were revised up: from 231,000 to 245,000, and from 215,000 to 245,000, respectively.
On top of that, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent, while the labor force participation held steady for the third month in a row at 62.6 percent. Average hourly earnings rose 2.2 percent from where they were a year ago.
Analysts were expecting 217,000 new jobs, an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent, and 2.1 percent growth in average hourly earnings.
Earnings growth is still flat compared to what a real recovery would signal, and even at the higher 244,000 average rate of job creation, the hole in the economy will not close until well into 2017. Jeff Spross