Looks like that 34% Bush approval number is really freaking the Republicans out:
The release of a new CBS News poll showing Bush's approval rating dropping to 34 percent, a low for him in that survey, sent tremors through Republican circles in Washington. Scott Reed, who managed Robert J. Dole's presidential campaign in 1996, called the results "pretty shattering." Most distressing to GOP strategists was that Bush's support among Republicans fell from 83 percent to 72 percent.
"The repetition of the news coming out of Iraq is wearing folks down," Reed said. "It started with women and it's spreading. It's just bad news after bad news after bad news, without any light at the end of the tunnel."
Bush shrugged off the poll numbers in an interview with ABC News yesterday. "If I worried about polls, I would be -- I wouldn't be doing my job," he said before leaving Washington for a trip to India and Pakistan. "And, look, I fully understand that when you do hard things, it creates consternation at times. And, you know, I've been up in the polls and I've been down in the polls. You know, it's just part of life in the modern era."
Yet at the White House, aides were decidedly downbeat, making dark jokes about the latest political trajectory and the Murphy's Law quality of life in the West Wing these days -- what can go wrong will go wrong. At least, some consoled themselves, Bush beat out Vice President Cheney, who was viewed favorably by just 18 percent in the CBS survey.
And the Vice President's staff consoled themselves with the thought that their guy is viewed more favorably than both Saddam Hussein and Cancer. There is always someone or something less popular. You just have to look hard enough to find it.