People are sick of the war in Afghanistan. President Obama’s trip won’t change that.
By Chris Cillizza and Rachel Weiner,
President Obama’s surprise trip to Afghanistan on Monday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden drew massive — and largely positive — media coverage.
U.S. President Barack Obama waves to troops at Bagram Air Base in Kabul, May 2, 2012. Earlier, Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement at the Presidential Palace. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
In an April Washington Post-ABC News poll, just 30 percent of people said the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting while 66 percent said it was not — including 47 percent who felt strongly that the war was not worth the fighting.
Those numbers are strikingly consistent over time, as a majority has not supported the war in Afghanistan since April 2010.
While Obama and his allies note that he is doing everything he can to bring the war in Afghanistan to a peaceable conclusion — Obama signed an agreement on Tuesday that formalizes the withdrawal of American forces by 2014 — the American public may not have the stomach to stay in the country that long.
In a March Post-ABC poll, a somewhat remarkable 54 percent of respondents said that they favored withdrawing our military forces “even if the Afghan army is not adequately trained.” Forty three percent of people said the U.S. should keep its troops in Afghanistan until the Afghan army is “self sufficient.” In a March CNN poll, 55 percent said straight-up that all troops should leave before 2014.
To be clear, the images of President Obama slapping five with troops and praising the sacrifices made by those in that country is a net positive for him politically. It burnishes his commander-in-chief credentials and reminds people of one of the seminal positive moments — the death of bin Laden — of his first four years in office.
And, given the centrality of the economy on the minds of most voters in this election, it’s hard to imagine that Afghanistan will play any major role in how undecideds make up their minds.
Still, don’t assume that simply because the coverage of President Obama’s trip was largely positive that it has any lasting influence on what is a consistent bloc of opposition to what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan. It almost certainly doesn’t.
Gingrich creditors nervous: Businesses and staffers owed money by former House speaker Newt Gingrich are worried that the soon-to-be-former presidential candidate isn’t good for the money.
Many were frustrated to see Gingrich continue to campaign (and spend) aggressively after his defeat was all but certain.
“They keep telling us, ‘We’ve got you covered, you will be paid.’ But I have my doubts. I really do,” sign company owner Vic Buttermore told ABC News.
Help may come soon; former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee have offered to help retire Gingrich’s debt.
And he’s not running again: Gingrich told USA Today, “I do not think in 2020 I’ll be a plausible candidate.”
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“I like to think I am a serious legislator and trying to get things done,” he told Fox News. “That’s my goal in life, to get things done. It’s not about sizzle for me.”
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How the White House smothered the news of Obama’s trip to Afghanistan - Zeke Miller, BuzzFeed
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