President Obama got props from an unlikely source this week – conservative former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, who said that some of the criticism aimed at the president has been downright “shameful.”
Speaking to the Hudson Union Society, the likely 2012 Republican presidential contender – who is a regular, outspoken critic of the president – backed Obama’s decision to visit Dover Air Force Base as the caskets of soldiers’ bodies were returning from Iraq.
"When he was at Dover the other day, and went there to pay respect for soldiers, I heard a lot of people on the right say, ‘Aw, that's just a cheap photo-op.’ No, I think it was the commander in chief of our military paying respect to a dead soldier, and I'm grateful that he did that, and I was proud of him for doing that. And I think we all – as Americans – should give him credit for doing that."
One of those who had dismissed Obama’s decision as a publicity stunt was vociferous Obama-basher Rush Limbaugh.
But the Dover decision wasn’t the only barb hurled by the radio shock jock. This week, Limbaugh also accused Gallup pollsters of cooking the books to make Obama look good. The conservative commentator said that the only reason Obama’s approval rating remains above 50 percent is that Gallup deliberately oversaturated the sample pool with African Americans.
"Gallup has him just teetering on the little teeter-totter at 50 percent and they're doing everything they can – they're upping the sample to Black Americans – to keep him up at 50 percent in the Gallup poll," Limbaugh said Thursday, declining to offer any corroboration for such a claim.
According to Gallup's latest survey, Obama's approval rating is at 53 percent, compared with 39 percent who said they disapproved of his performance and 8 percent who had no opinion.
In contrast, Limbaugh, noted, the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted over the same period found that the number of voters who approve or disapprove of Obama at 46 percent each, with 8 percent undecided. A month earlier, according to the Fox poll, 50 percent of respondents said they approve of his performance, while 41 percent disapproved.
Frank Newport, editor in chief of Gallup, said that Limbaugh has it twisted.
"Rush Limbaugh stated on his radio program Thursday that several polls have shown President Obama's job approval rating to be below 50 percent, while Gallup's has not (by "upping the sample of Black Americans")..., Newport said. “This statement is a complete and inexplicable fabrication. Gallup has a 70-year history of providing unbiased, scientific measures of public attitudes. Gallup is not now, nor has it ever, modified its data in order to achieve any desired result."