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The Bush Who Cried Wolf

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By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, September 24, 2008; 12:43 PM

So this is what happens when the president of the United States has virtually no credibility left.

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The nation is facing a serious financial crisis. But neither the public nor Congress have confidence in the solutions being put forth by President Bush's appointed economic leads.

Americans have learned what questions to ask when the Bush team starts to make threats. Is the situation as bad as they say? Do we have to respond the way they say? Are there any better alternatives? Do we have to act as fast as they say? And is it possible they don't know what they're doing?

The ultimate irony would be if, this time, Bush was right -- or even partly right.

Unconvinced

The public is certainly not sold.

Matthew Benjamin writes for Bloomberg: "Americans oppose government rescues of ailing financial companies by a decisive margin, and blame Wall Street and President George W. Bush for the credit crisis.

"By a margin of 55 percent to 31 percent, Americans say it's not the government's responsibility to bail out private companies with taxpayer dollars, even if their collapse could damage the economy, according to the latest Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll."

Doyle McManus writes in the Los Angeles Times that the Times/Bloomberg poll initially appears to conflict with a poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. That poll found that 57 percent of respondents think the government is doing the right thing by intervening to stabilize the economy.

But, as McManus explains: "The contrast between the Times/Bloomberg poll and the Pew survey probably reflects the different wording of their questions.

"The Times/Bloomberg poll asked respondents whether they believed it was 'the government's responsibility to bail out private companies with taxpayers' dollars.' A majority said no.

"The Pew poll, by contrast, asked respondents if 'investing billions to try to keep financial institutions and markets secure' was the right thing to do. A majority said yes."

Dan Balz and Jon Cohen write in The Washington Post that, based on the results of a Washington Post/ABC News poll, "voters are cool toward the administration's initial efforts to deal with the current crisis. Forty-seven percent said they approve of the steps taken by the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to stabilize the financial markets, while 42 percent said they disapprove."


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