The Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll out Monday has President Obama falling below 50 percent in job approval. The number is now 49 percent. The health care approval rating is 41 percent; 56 percent oppose. So obviously the president is having trouble.

This week negotiations begin with Iran, which continues to defy the world by developing nuclear weapons. After being chastised last week by President Obama and other world leaders, Iran responded by testing missiles this weekend, once again spitting in the eye of those nations who want nuclear controls.

The tyrant Ahmadinejad is clear on the issue, saying this about a possible attack on his country by Israel:


IRANIAN PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (through translator): The Zionist regime is far too small and little to be able to engage in an act of aggression against Iran. It's not in their capacity to want to engage in anything.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": They could take out a nuclear facility. They could.

AHMADINEJAD: They will not make this mistake, because the response they will get from us will be one which they will regret.


Many believe the USA, Great Britain and France are not going to be able to stop the mullahs from getting nukes. Few believe the West has the stomach for a world war. Certainly Iran believes that.

Once again, the Iranians can cause trouble all over the place: in the Persian Gulf, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Lebanon and on and on. So the arrogant mullahs are going to do what they want to do unless the world economically strangles them, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen thanks to our pals the Russians and Chinese, who refuse to clamp down on Iran. So President Obama is really up against it.

In Afghanistan there's chaos as well. The president still has not decided whether to send 40,000 additional U.S. troops to fill the request of his commanding general, Stanley McChrystal. Sunday night on "60 minutes" McChrystal delivered a stunning soundbite:


DAVID MARTIN, "60 MINUTES" CORRESPONDENT: How often do you talk to the president?

GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL: I have talked to the president since I have been here once.

MARTIN: You talked to him once in 70 days?

MCCHRYSTAL: That's correct.


"Talking Points" is perplexed. The commander in chief doesn't talk to his commanding general in Afghanistan? What's that all about?

We called the White House Monday and they said the president formulates Afghan policy through Secretary of Defense Gates. That's the chain of command the Pentagon wants. But if it were me I'd be talking directly to my commander in the field on a weekly basis.

Both Afghanistan and Iran are extremely complicated, and it is worth noting that Iran is still holding three American hikers who wandered across the Kurdish border. That's been going on for two months and is basically kidnapping. But again, the mullahs don't care. They do not seem to fear America.

So this is truly a test of leadership for President Obama, just as President Carter was up against the mullahs during his unsuccessful term in office. If Mr. Obama challenges Iran, bad things will happen. If he does not, Iran becomes a nuclear power on his watch.

Same thing in Afghanistan. Either we defeat the Taliban or the country descends into chaos, just like Vietnam did.

History defines great leaders as those who defeat or diffuse great challenges. President Obama is certainly facing those.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

The new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was present at the Yankee Stadium over the weekend, and the justice was fairly impressive throwing out the first pitch. Better arm than Dennis Miller, everybody.

Miller, as you remember, had a little trouble last week at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but not Judge Sotomayor. Looks like she was having fun, and we believe she's a patriot.

On the pinhead front, one of our favorite cushions, Joy Behar.


JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": He called me a pinhead. He's called me a Kool-Aid drinker. It's OK. It's like being on Nixon's enemies list. I think it's a badge of honor to be called a pinhead by Bill O'Reilly.


Should we give Joy yet another badge? Why not? She's a pinhead.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com