All of the bad news — soaring crime and inflation, a badly botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, the endless crisis at the border, gridlock on Capitol Hill — has finally caught up with President Joe Biden. New polls show Biden plunging to record lows and the Republican Party soaring up in the eyes of Americans, who think the GOP is better able to handle the country's problems. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has raised the specter of involving the FBI against moms who attend school board meetings, all under the guise of protecting administrators. But Democrats are just fine with the harassment of elected lawmakers, with Biden himself saying it's "part of the process." And in a wacky story, a former adviser to President Donald Trump offered up a theory about why Biden continues to use a fake White House set, this time featuring a digital monitor displaying the Rose Garden with flowers in full bloom. Here's the latest installment of Washington Wire.
1. Biden Plunges To Record Low
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President Joe Biden’s approval rating has plummeted less than a year into his presidency as his administration struggles to get a handle on multiple crises.
Biden’s approval is 15 points underwater, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday. The poll, with a margin of error of 2.7 points, is based on a survey of 1,326 U.S. adults taken from October 1-4.
“Battered on trust, doubted on leadership, and challenged on overall competency, President Biden is being hammered on all sides as his approval rating continues its downward slide to a number not seen since the tough scrutiny of the Trump administration,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement.
Biden’s rating measured 38% approval to 53% disapproval, the worst score he’s received since taking office in January. Biden’s net disapproval has nearly doubled since the last time Quinnipiac conducted the poll putting Biden’s approval rating at 42% to 50%.
As the Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed, personal consumption spending rose by $130.5 billion dollars in August — representing a 4.3% year-over-year hike in the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI).
The PCEPI — used by the Federal Reserve to set its inflation rate targets — has risen for the past several months. In April, the metric hit a 3.6% year-over-year growth rate before rising to 4.0% in June and 4.2% in July.
According to a recent survey, Americans forecasted a 9% year-over-year increase in their back-to-school spending. Last year, they anticipated spending $247; this year, they anticipated spending $268.
3. Guv Candidate Admits Biden A Drag
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Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) admitted Tuesday that Biden’s unpopularity is creating “headwinds” for Democrats.
McAuliffe said during a virtual campaign event that Biden is proving to be a liability in McAuliffe’s campaign to regain his seat as Virginia’s governor. McAuliffe’s comments come as recent polling reveals that Biden’s approval rating has sunk to the lowest level of his presidency.
“We got to get Democrats out to vote. We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington,” McAuliffe told supporters. “As you know, the president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia so we have got to plow through.”
A McAuliffe spokesperson later told Politico: “Terry’s point was clearly that Democrats can’t take anything for granted and must turn out to vote this year: Glenn Youngkin is running on a divisive, Trumpian agenda that puts election conspiracy theories and banning abortion first.”
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4. Americans See GOP As More Competent
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A new poll finds that Americans now view the Republican Party as more competent in ensuring security and prosperity.
“Americans by significant margins now view the Republican Party as better than the Democratic Party at protecting the nation from international threats (54% to 39%, respectively) and at ensuring the nation remains prosperous (50% to 41%),” Gallup reported.
“The 15-percentage-point GOP advantage on security matters is its largest since 2015, while its nine-point edge on prosperity is its largest since 2014. Last year, the GOP had a narrow advantage on international matters while the parties were essentially tied on economic matters. More of this change has come from declines in Americans perceiving the Democratic Party as better on these issues than from increases for the Republican Party,” said the national polling site.
A year ago, 46% of those surveyed said the Democratic Party would do a better job in the next few years of protecting the U.S. from terrorism and other international threats, but that dropped 7 points to 39%.
“Americans typically see the Republican Party as more capable on national security matters, but the 15-point gap in favor of the GOP this year is the largest since a 16-point advantage in 2015. The party had an even larger 23-point gap in 2014, a time when the Obama administration was struggling to deal with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and renewed Middle East violence, among other issues,” Gallup wrote.
5. Biden Targets ‘Harassment’ Of School Officials
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Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday ordered the FBI to begin investigating a recent spike in “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school administrators.
The Department of Justice published a memo by Garland directing U.S. attorneys and the FBI to work with local officials to identify and curb threats to school administrators.
Garland’s memo comes after a summer of raucous school board meetings in which parents and community members challenged school officials over the adoption of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other contentious subjects into school curriculum. Parents have also pressured school boards to drop school mask mandates in many places they have been implemented.
CRT contends that many of the United States’ key institutions and traditions are based in slavery and supported through white supremacy. The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” a series of essays adapted into a format that can be used by educators, is based on CRT and posits that the true founding of the United States dates back to 1619 when the first slave ship arrived in America.
6. Sen. Paul: Moms Aren't 'Terrorists'
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says Americans should “be afraid of your government” following an announcement from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that the FBI would begin to investigate alleged “threats” against school officials — a move that comes as parents have been voicing opposition to Critical Race Theory and mask mandates.
“Moms at school boards are being told that they’re criminals, potential domestic terrorists, for the crime of dissent, and I think criminalizing dissent is something that we should all be appalled with,” Paul said Wednesday on Fox News.
Host Ben Domenech asked the senator what he would say to Americans worried that “if they go to their local school board and say the wrong thing, that they’re going to end up on some list that Merrick Garland goes after.”
“I would say be afraid. Be afraid of your government,” Paul said.
“That’s a sad thing from someone in the government to say, but the thing is, is those lists already exist. For example, people in northern Virginia that have gone to [protests], have been then sought out by the school council, by the members of the school board and retaliated [against] in a sort of legalistic way to try to put them on some sort of list and chill their speech by letting them know there’ll be a penalty for showing up and protesting,” Paul said.
7. Biden Downplays Harassment Of Lawmakers
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Biden downplayed left-wing activists harassing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in a bathroom over the weekend, saying that it “happens to everybody” and that it was “part of the process.”
Several activists repeatedly championed Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda after chasing Sinema into a bathroom at Arizona State University, where they recorded her.
Biden was asked about the incident during a short press conference on Monday by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy.
“Mr. President, you’re talking about how you have 48 Democratic votes right now,” Doocy began. “The other two have been pressured over the weekend by activists. Joe Manchin had people on kayaks show up to his boat. Senator Sinema last night was chased into a restroom.”
“Do you think that those tactics are crossing a line?” Doocy asked.
“I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody,” Biden responded. “The only people doesn’t happen to people who have Secret Service standing around them. So it’s part of the process.”
8. Why Does Biden Use Fake White House Set?
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Social media users ridiculed Biden on Wednesday after he once again used a fake White House set, this time featuring a digital monitor displaying the Rose Garden with flowers in full bloom. One former senior adviser to President Donald Trump offered a theory. “The reason Biden uses this bizarre virtual set for televised meetings — and not an actual room like East Room, Cabinet, Oval, Roosevelt, Sit Room, etc. — is because it allows him to read a script directly from a face-on monitor (& w/out teleprompter glass that can be seen on camera),” Stephen Miller wrote on Twitter. The set was constructed across from the White House in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The set looks a bit like the Oval Office, with big windows along a white wall. Biden uses the set for video conferences and other events that are broadcast online. Biden used the same set when he received a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Just as last time Biden used the set, the move drew scorn on social media. “Truman Show Presidency,” tweeted Human Events Senior Editor Jack Posobiec.