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Some now see Obama as the 'comeback kid'

For a guy who took a 'shellacking' in the midterm elections six weeks ago, President Obama is doing pretty well during this lame-duck political period. Still, his approval rating keeps dropping.

By Staff writer / December 19, 2010

President Barack Obama flanked by members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell signs the tax cut bill December 17. The measure would extend tax cuts for families at every income level, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, and enact a new one-year cut in Social Security taxes.

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For a guy who took a “shellacking” in the midterm elections six weeks ago, President Obama is doing pretty well during this lame-duck political period.

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He wrestled Republicans and his own liberal wing into passage of the tax cut/unemployment deal. After a fitful start, he got a trade deal with South Korea. Saturday he saw a huge win in the demise of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military. And his allies on Capitol Hill so far have been able to beat back amendments that could have spiked the START nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.

“Is Barack Obama the new Comeback Kid?” ask USA Today writers Mimi Hall and Richard Wolf.

Related: Record-low support for Afghanistan war shows Obama's vulnerability

"This is the start of him looking like he can handle Washington in its current composition," Republican pollster Jon McHenry told the newspaper. "That's a huge deal."

Over at the Washington Post, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer also shakes his head admiringly as he describes Obama’s “comeback,” noting that he’s “already a year ahead” of where Bill Clinton was when the former president finally recovered from the midterm whupping he took in 1994.

Obama's 'impressive achievement'

“And that was Clinton responding nimbly to political opportunity,” Krauthammer writes. “Obama fashioned out of thin air his return to relevance, an even more impressive achievement.”

Reading today’s entrail-like polls, one finds confirming evidence of this view.

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