Weekly political rail, with items on gas prices, Bush's record disapproval rating, a look at Jimmy Carter and more.


 


Number to Know: $1.27

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. on Jan. 17, 2000, three days before President Bush took office. On April 28, 2008, the average price was $3.60. Perhaps this helps explain Bush’s disapproval rating (see below). – Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Pol Polls

According to CNN, President Bush has hit a new low: He hit the highest disapproval rating in modern history. Bush’s 71 percent rating tops Richard Nixon’s 67 percent – which was recorded just before he left office in the midst of the Watergate scandal. Nixon and Harry Truman had lower approval ratings than Bush currently does (28 for Bush, 24 for Nixon and 22 for Truman), but Bush is the first commander in chief to hit 70 percent disapproval.

Political Battle of the Week: Hillary vs. Iran

Hillary Clinton’s recent remarks on “Good Morning America” that the U.S. would “totally obliterate” Iran if it attacked Israel have prompted the Iranian government to file a complaint with the United Nations about Clinton’s "provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible" comments. Iran said Clinton’s words violated the U.N. Charter.

Political Pun-dits: The Rev. Wright

"I guess you heard, Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Wright, is now traveling the country trying to explain those controversial remarks he made in some of his sermons. And even Barack Obama is starting to admit it's hurting his campaign. In fact, you know what Barack Obama did today to distract reporters from Rev. Wright? He went bowling again." -- Jay Leno

"Reverend Wright says he'd rather just go home and retire, but the money Hillary is paying him is so good." -- Jay Leno

"Barack Obama addressed some of the more controversial comments made by his longtime minister, Jeremiah Wright. The guy said some crazy stuff, like, gays caused 9/11, Hurricane Katrina was God's revenge for our sins. Oh, I'm sorry. That's Pat Robertson. That's the other side's nutball minister. I'm sorry. You know, there's so many nutball ministers in this thing, I'm confused as to which one is on which side." -- Jay Leno

Better Know a Politician: Jimmy Carter

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born Oct. 1, 1924) was the 39th president of the United States -- from 1977 to 1981 -- and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Prior to becoming president, Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate, and he was the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. He and Sen. Ted Kennedy were the unofficial leaders of the Democratic Party, excluding unelected presidential nominees, until the nomination and presidency of Bill Clinton (1993–2001).

Carter's presidency sought to make a shift in U.S. foreign policy with an emphasis on human rights. He negotiated a peace between Israel and Egypt, which has held until this day. His returning of the canal zone to Panama was a major reversal of U.S. claims of influence over Latin America dating to the Monroe doctrine and was attacked by Republicans like Ronald Reagan. He would not succeed in gaining a second term, and his tenure was marked by several major crises, including the takeover of the American embassy and holding of hostages by students in Iran, a failed rescue attempt of the hostages, serious fuel shortages and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

After leaving office, Carter founded an institute to promote global health, democracy and human rights. He has traveled extensively to monitor international elections, conduct peace negotiations and establish relief efforts. He is also a key figure in Habitat for Humanity. Carter also became a prolific author, writing 27 books. As of 2008, he is the earliest living president and the second-oldest living president. (Wikipedia.org)

This Week in Political History

May 4, 1970 - The Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after the ROTC building was burnt down, opens fire, killing four students and wounding nine others. The students were protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

May 5, 1925 - John T. Scopes is served an arrest warrant for teaching evolution – a violation of the Butler Act.

May 6, 1994 - Former Arkansas state worker Paula Jones files suit against President Bill Clinton, alleging he'd sexually harassed her in 1991.

May 7, 1992 - Michigan ratifies a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, making the 27th Amendment law. This amendment bars the U.S. Congress from giving itself a mid-term pay raise.

May 8, 1973 - A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the American Indian Movement members occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, S. D., ends with the surrender of the militants.

May 9, 1974 - Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.

May 10, 1924 - J. Edgar Hoover is appointed the director of the FBI, and remains director until his death in 1972.

GateHouse News Service