TPM News

The percentage of Americans who say the economy is getting worse has risen to the highest level since the early months of President Obama's presidency, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday.

At the same time, Obama's approval rating has slipped to the point where a majority of Americans now disapprove of his job performance. But despite Obama's shaky standing, the president still led every potential Republican rival paired against him in potential head-to-head 2012 matchups, a sign that while he is weak, the GOP field right now is weaker.

In the poll, 44% of respondents said the economy was getting worse, up 10 points since last October. That's the highest level notched in the Washington Post-ABC News poll since March 2009 when 48% of Americans thought the economy was headed in the wrong direction.

Additionally, only 28% of adults now say the economy is headed in the right direction.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) may have vetoed her state's so-called birther bill, but a spokesman for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Monday that Jindal would sign Louisiana's own version of the bill if it reaches his desk.

"It's not part of our package, but if the Legislature passes it we'll sign it," said Kyle Plotkin, Jindal's press secretary, the New Orleans Times Picayune reports.

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Obama To Launch Campaign-Style Budget Blitz AFP reports: "President Barack Obama this week takes his 2012 reelection bid cross-country, to the airwaves and to Facebook, pushing a prescription for long-term US fiscal health that includes tax hikes on the richest Americans...The US president's campaign-style blitz came as Republicans redoubled their attacks on his handling of the struggling US economy and promoted their 'Path to Prosperity' blueprint for reining in the country's galloping deficits."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will host an Easter Prayer Breakfast at 8:35 a.m. ET. He will hold a town hall at Northern Virginia Community College at 10:15 a.m. ET, to discuss his vision for reducing our debt and bringing down our deficit, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared prosperity. At 3:25 p.m. ET, Obama will meet with a broad group of business, law enforcement, faith, and current and former elected and appointed leaders from across the political spectrum, on fixing the immigration system. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Obama will meet with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

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Publicly, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has said they're not worried about Louis Marinelli -- the former employee who defected from the group and changed his viewpoint on same-sex marriage -- even writing that they "wish him well" with his "different focus." But behind the scenes, the president of NOM is threatening legal action against Marinelli and demanding he take down blog posts about NOM on his website.

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Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), who has been a darling on the right for her battles with the Obama administration over illegal immigration, health care and other issues, has now taken a potentially bold step against the Tea Party base: She has vetoed a "birther bill" -- a piece of legislation motivated by conspiracy theories about President Obama place of birth, requiring candidates for public office to submit proof of U.S. citizenship to the state Secretary of State before they could appear on the state's ballot.

"I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions," Brewer said in her veto message, the Associated Press reports. Brewer herself is a former Arizona Secretary of State.

"In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their early baptismal circumcision certificates' among other records to the Arizona secretary of state. This is a bridge too far."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the national Tea Party movement star who is considering a run for president, says she is in the early stages of another possible decision -- whether to write a book introducing herself to the whole country.

The Associated Press reports:

After a rally Monday at South Carolina's Capitol, Bachmann told The Associated Press that she is "in the early talking stages" about a book. The third-term congresswoman says she's received several requests but is deciding whether she'll have the time to devote to such an undertaking.

A good question would be whether the book would be genuinely written by Bachmann or mainly compiled from her speeches and various writings, or if it would be done via a ghost writer, which politicians usually employ. And if Bachmann herself were to write it, then it would certainly make for some really interesting reading, on such topics as American history, economics, and her direct communication with God.

Democrats are told reporters on Monday that they've found their secret weapon when it comes retaking retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat in Texas next fall: Retired Lt. Gen. Ricard Sanchez, last seen leaving Iraq in shame after the 2004 Abu Ghraib prison scandal engulfed some of the American forces he was leading there.

National Democrats are urging Sanchez to run for Senate, claiming his military career and Hispanic heritage will make him a serious threat in the Lone Star State. In a statement released to reporters Monday afternoon, Sanchez said he's going to make a decision about the race "in the coming weeks," but sources told the AP the former Lt. General is "expected to run."

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The award-winning Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal -- which portrayed the former top general in Afghanistan as having a loose tongue when it came to the Obama administration -- effectively ended his military career.

But the Department of Defense is still maintaining McChrystal and his staff, who were quoted in the article making disparaging comments about Obama administration officials, were not at fault. An Inspector General report released Monday after a Freedom of Information Act request has cleared the general and his staff of any wrongdoing.

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