According to a new CBS News poll, just 44 percent of Americans believe the president is doing a good job; 41 percent say he is not; the rest don't know.
That is Mr. Obama's lowest approval rating ever. So what's driving this?
The president responded on CBS:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that when you listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, it's...
HARRY SMITH, CBS NEWS: It's beyond that.
OBAMA: It's pretty apparent, and it's troublesome. But, you know, keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of vitriol comes out. It happens often when you have got an economy that is making people more anxious and people are feeling as if there is a lot of change that needs to take place. But that's not the vast majority of Americans. I think the vast majority of Americans know that we are trying hard, that I want what's best for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That could be true, but there's no question many Americans are now skeptical of Mr. Obama.
One of the big reasons is health care. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal echoed "The Factor" and said that Obamacare may indeed be unconstitutional because the federal government cannot force Americans to buy a product: health insurance. We said that back in August.
One footnote: The car insurance mandate is driven by public safety. It is also a state issue.
Now, the president sincerely believes that conservatives are hurting his image, but his outrage is selective. The left attacks the president's critics with even more vitriol than the right uses. But Mr. Obama never mentions that. He must not watch NBC News.
"Talking Points" believes it is unemployment, the bitterness surrounding health care, the massive debt and the huge expansion of federal government that is driving Mr. Obama's poll numbers down. It's not about conservative commentators.
Also, the president has lost almost every right-leaning independent voter because he has governed almost exclusively from the left. There is little center in his presentation.
This week's announcement about drilling for oil is an attempt to stop that bleeding. So the president is definitely aware of where he is in the court of public opinion.
"Talking Points" expects that Mr. Obama will use his rhetorical skills to try to calm the waters. We also expect him to take a tougher posture against Iran.
No question there is a hearts and minds battle in America right now, with the election next November the endgame.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Robin Williams recently entertained the folks in Australia and apparently did not find that country to be inspirational. Ut-oh.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": You've been to Australia before?
ROBIN WILLIAMS, COMEDIAN: I've been to Australia before. It is an unusual country. I mean, the Australians are basically English rednecks, you know? You get down there, "How are you? Good to see you."
LETTERMAN: But the people are nice?
WILLIAMS: Oh, they're lovely.
LETTERMAN: I would be worried that they would — I think they would take and hurt me. I think that they would want to hurt me.
WILLIAMS: If you're lucky.
LETTERMAN: They're rough. Kind of rough...
WILLIAMS: Rough and tumble. Come on, we'll have a couple of beers and walk in the Outback and drink our own urine.
KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: First of all, I think Robin Williams should spend a bit of time in Alabama before he comments about anyone being particularly redneck. That's my first response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Well, upon hearing that, the governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, said: "I'm not sure if Prime Minister Rudd has ever been to Alabama. If he has, he would know that Alabamians are decent, hardworking, creative people."
So who are patriots and pinheads in this fracas? You can sort it out.