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Free pass

Published April 12. 2013 05:05PM

The Obama honeymoon may be over. According to the Real Clear Politics poll, half of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling his job.

Basking in the glow of re-election last December, Obama held an 18-point lead over Republicans in Congress over the way he's handling the economy. That lead has dwindled to four percent.

Sequestration has not helped. Thanks to the liberal media,the White House was initially able to deflect blame on the automatic budget cuts to Republicans, even though it was Obama who suggested it in the first place and then signed it into law.

Polls show that about a quarter of Americans say they've been hurt by the cuts. Most of the concern about personal finances is from women and lower-income adults.

Lower-paid workers are once again hardest hit. Thirty-five percent of those households with incomes of less than $20,000 a year say they've suffered more from the sequester while only about 16 percent of those with $100,000-plus incomes say they've been hurt.

Americans show little optimism that the gridlock between this administration and congress can be fixed any time soon.

The president's second-term numbers are down across the board. Support from nonwhites and women, two groups which gave Obama overwhelming support in re-election, has weakened and he's lost 10 points in approval from middle and upper middle class adults who are in the $50,000-$100,000 salary range.

With such dismal numbers and pessimism about the economy, it's puzzling why this president would continue his reckless personal spending.

A few weeks ago, Obama decided to give back $20,000 of his salary as his gesture to help the economy. But when you stack that up against what he and the first family have spent on personal vacations and White House bashes, the give-back amounts to mere pocket change. The cost to fly Air Force One is about $180,000 an hour.

As of January, the cost to taxpayers for Obama's four "family tradition" vacations to Hawaii since he became president exceeded $20 million. There have also been frequent family trips to Martha's Vineyard and the president's $1 million golf weekend with Tiger Woods in February was not exactly an expenditure our of middle America.

The fact that media were banned from attending that event infuriated the traveling pool of journalists that follow Obama. Still, the media as whole made little of Obama's exclusive golf lesson which cost $989,207.

Even when the Obamas stay at home, they continue to spend like they're playing with Monopoly money rather than real taxpayer dollars. This week's Memphis Soul concert at the White House, featuring Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper and Justin Timberlake, cost taxpayers about $433,000.

There's nothing wrong with an occasional White House concert, but it does call into question this president's priorities. Last month, the administration announced it was canceling all White House tours because of the sequester, forcing numerous school groups and American families to cancel or alter their scheduled trips to Washington.

The "people's house" remains closed but when it comes to family entertainment or vacation time, the Obama message to America seems to be let the good times roll and the taxpayers' money flow.

By Jim Zbick

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