“What is amazing here is how much political capital Obama has spent in the first six weeks,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “And against that, he stands at the end of this six weeks with as much or more capital in the bank.”
By comparison, the Republican Party â€” which resisted Obama’s recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget â€” finds its favorability at an all-time low. It also receives most of the blame for the current partisanship in Washington and trails the Democrats by nearly 30 percentage points on the question of which party could best lead the nation out of recession.
President Obama, we are told, usually arrives in the Oval Office a little before 9 a.m., some two hours later than his predecessor, George W. Bush. This enables him to read the newspapers before coming to work (as F.D.R. and Reagan also did) and to spend time with daughters Malia and Sasha before they go to school. â€œI have never seen him happier,â€ Mr. Obamaâ€™s longtime adviser, David Axelrod, told The Times.
When Mr. Bush moved in, he exercised his presidential decorating prerogatives and asked his wife, Laura, to supervise the design of a new rug. Mr. Bush loved to regale visitors with the story of the rug, whose sunburst design, he liked to say, was intended to evoke a feeling of optimism.
The rug is still there, as are the presidential portraits Mr. Bush selected â€” one of Washington, one of Lincoln â€” and a collection of decorative green and white plates. During a meeting last week with retired military officials, before he signed an executive order shutting down the prison at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, Mr. Obama surveyed his new environs with a critical eye.
â€œHe looked around,â€ said one of his guests, retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, â€œand said, â€˜Iâ€™ve got to do something about these plates. Iâ€™m not really a plates kind of guy.â€™Â â€