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Why Is This President Smiling?

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 23, 2010 3:30PM

How does the cliche go? "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Looks like President Obama has done just that, taking the Democratic mid-term election losses in stride and earning a 56 percent approval rating for the recently completed lame duck session.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates the majority of those surveyed were satisfied with the way Obama worked with congressional Republicans in finding a compromise on extending tax cuts for another two years, the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, passage of a food safety bill, a ten-week extension funding extension for the federal government and the ratification of the START treaty by the Senate.

Conversely, 44 percent of the same survey respondents were satisfied with GOP cooperation during the lame duck session. That number went down to 41 percent when asked to rank the approval ratings of GOP Congressional leaders. Some political experts say that the survey is an example that Obama is successfully adopting the "triangulation" strategy that Bill Clinton used to good effect after the 1994 midterms. But Obama said during his 2008 campaign that he wanted to govern by consensus.

The question now is how cooperative will the GOP be when the new Congress is sworn in next month?