Key Democrats Flee Obama on Healthcare, Economy (the Messiah's Midas touch is starting to dull)

NEW YORK -- Could it be that President Barack Obama's Midas touch is starting to dull a bit, even among members of his own party?


Conservative House Democrats are balking at the cost and direction of Obama's top priority, an overhaul of the nation's health care system. A key Senate Democrat, Max Baucus of Montana, complains that Obama's opposition to paying for it with a tax on health benefits "is not helping us."


Another Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, tells his local newspaper that Obama is too liberal and is "very unpopular" in his district.


From his first days in office, Obama's popularity helped him pass the landmark $787 billion stimulus package and fueled his ambitious plans to overhaul the nation's health care system and tackle global warming.


Obama continues to be comparatively popular. But now recent national surveys have shown a measurable drop in his job approval rating, even among Democrats. A CBS news survey out this week had his national approval rating at 57 percent, and his standing among Democrats down 10 percentage points since last month, from 92 percent to 82 percent.


With the economy continuing to sputter and joblessness on the rise, many of Obama's staunchest Democratic supporters are anxious for his agenda to start bearing fruit.


"We are eager and impatient, so you're seeing a little bit of that," said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. "Elections have results, and those in the base are the most anxious to achieve what's promised in the election. That's why Democrats are showing some impatience in reaching our goal."


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