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President Obama's Approval Index Rating Takes a Dive

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Falling Marks

Today's Rasmussen reports presidential tracking poll shows that 31 percent of voters surveyed strongly approve of the job president Obama is doing. But 33 percent strongly disapprove. That means the president's approval index rating has fallen below zero for the third time in 10 days.

The approval index is calculated by subtracting the number of people who strongly disapprove — from the number who strongly approve. It currently stands at negative two. That matches President Obama's lowest rating since taking office, which was recorded on June 21. Before that, the index had never dropped below zero.

Democratic Dissent

Twenty pro-life Democrats have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing their opposition to any health care reform — that includes abortion funding.

The letter reads: "We cannot support any health care reform proposals unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan. Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly (are) unacceptable."

Shaun Kenney, the executive director of pro-life group American Life League tells Cybercast News the letter is an indication that not everyone in the Democratic Party has sold out to the abortion lobby. But he says taxpayer dollars are already going to programs that fund abortions: "Planned Parenthood alone consumes about $349 million a year in federal and state tax subsidies."

Un-Vanity Fair

And another case of Sarah Palin derangement syndrome has reared its ugly head. In Vanity Fair's August 2009 issue, Todd Purdum writes in a piece entitled, "It Came From Wasilla": "What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded?" Purdum quotes an anonymous friend of presidential nominee John McCain as referring to Palin as "little shop of horrors."

He writes that on the campaign trail aides "worried about her mental state: Was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression?" And that, "no political principle or personal relationship is more sacred than her own ambition."

Blogger Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics calls it a hit piece: "Complete with a slew of juicy, negative quotes from insiders and a smoothly crafted narrative that demeans and diminishes Palin's accomplishments."

And Alex Koppelman of the liberal Salon.com Web site calls it "devastatingly critical... Todd Purdum paints Palin as a narcissistic egomaniac unable to take the advice of others."

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.

Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of FOX News Channel's (FNC) Special Report with Bret Baier (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, DC, he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau.