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ABC, CBS Notice Obama's 'Lowest Ever' Approval Rating; NBC Out to Lunch

On Tuesday, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both reported the latest poll numbers from the "respected" Quinnipiac University, as CBS's Scott Pelley labeled the institution, regarding President Obama's "lowest ever" approval rating, along with Americans' dim view of the politician's honesty. ABC's Diane Sawyer noted that "for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent...say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy."

Both evening newscasts reported these numbers as they led into their coverage of former President Clinton's recent word of advice to Obama on his health care law – that "the President should honor the commitment...[he] made to those people, and let them keep what they've got." NBC Nightly News also devoted air time to Clinton's remarks, but failed to mention the current President's drooping approval number. [MP3 audio from the ABC and CBS reports available here; video below]

Pelley spotlighted the Quinnipiac poll's findings before turning to correspondent Major Garrett, who detailed the White House's reaction to Clinton's statement:

SCOTT PELLEY: The troubled rollout of President Obama's health insurance law is taking a toll on his job approval ratings. In the respected Quinnipiac University poll out today, only 39 percent of Americans say they approve of the job he's doing – the lowest ever in that poll; 54 percent disapprove. Perhaps reflecting his broken 'you can keep your insurance' promise, only 44 percent said the President is honest and trustworthy.

Garrett continued that "Clinton's comments focused even more attention on the most glaring political problem facing ObamaCare: those consumers on the individual market who had their policies canceled, but can't afford the new policies that comply with ObamaCare. The White House is looking for a fix, but it hasn't found one yet."

On World News, Sawyer underlined the "rough new poll number for the President – for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent – in a new poll, say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy. One factor: the people who felt misled about getting to keep their insurance under ObamaCare."

Correspondent Jonathan Karl then trumpeted that "Bill Clinton said what President Obama's harshest Republican critics have been saying – that he may need to the change the health care law to help the millions of people who have seen their insurance canceled, despite the President's promise that would not happen."

Later in the segment, Karl pointed out that "an ABC News analysis of administration documents suggest that fewer than 50,000 people have been able to enroll through HealthCare.gov. In contrast, an estimated seven-plus million are getting cancellation notices." He also featured a soundbite from a man in Pennsylvania who lost his insurance policy and "after spending more than 40 hours...trying to enroll on the website and over the phone, he is still out of luck."

The following morning, on ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Josh Elliott mentioned during a news brief that "a new poll finds that for the first time, a majority of Americans do not believe the President is, in fact, trustworthy." On CBS This Morning, anchor Norah O'Donnell reported how "President Obama's approval rating is at an all-time low – the latest casualty of the health care rollout", but didn't mention the 52 percent figure of Americans who don't find the Democrat honest and trustworthy.

The full transcripts of Jonathan Karl's report from Tuesday's World News on ABC and Major Garrett's report from Tuesday's CBS Evening News:

11/12/2013
06:38 pm EST
ABC – World News

DIANE SAWYER: A rough new poll number for the President – for the first time in his presidency, a majority of American voters – 52 percent – in a new poll, say President Obama is not honest and trustworthy. One factor: the people who felt misled about getting to keep their insurance under ObamaCare. And now, former President Clinton is adding salts to the stumble.

Here's ABC's Jon Karl.

[ABC News Graphic: "President Obama Honest and Trustworthy? Yes, 44%; No, 52%; Source: Quinnipiac"]

JON KARL (voice-over): Today, Bill Clinton said what President Obama's harshest Republican critics have been saying – that he may need to the change the health care law to help the millions of people who have seen their insurance canceled, despite the President's promise that would not happen.

[ABC News Graphic: "Rough Rollout: Bill Clinton Weighs In On ObamaCare"]

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (from ozy.com interview): I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people, and let them keep what they've got.

KARL: The President himself has apologized to those who have lost coverage, but the White House has opposed efforts to change the law. Later this week, the administration will finally tell us how many people have managed to enroll in new health coverage, despite the problems with the website.

KARL (on-camera, from White House press briefing): Is there any number that would be so low that you would say, wow – alarm bells are going off; we have a problem?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The only expectations I'll set is – is – is that we expect them to be low.

KARL: An ABC News analysis of administration documents suggest that fewer than 50,000 people have been able to enroll through HealthCare.gov. In contrast, an estimated seven-plus million are getting cancellation notices.

Case in point: Dan Howard of Freeport, Pennsylvania got notice last month his insurance is being canceled. And after spending more than 40 hours – including today – trying to enroll on the website and over the phone, he is still out of luck.

DAN HOWARD: It's hour after hour after hour just trying to find the answer to the question – where am I going to have my insurance and what's it going to cost?

KARL (live): In response to President Clinton, the White House said today that the President's team is looking at options to help those who have lost their health coverage. But Diane, it is unclear what they would do. In fact, the White House said today that the President's team has not even presented any options to the President yet.

SAWYER: At the White House again for us tonight, Jonathan Karl – thank you, Jon.


11/12/2013
06:39 pm EST
CBS Evening News

SCOTT PELLEY: The troubled rollout of President Obama's health insurance law is taking a toll on his job approval ratings. In the respected Quinnipiac University poll out today, only 39 percent of Americans say they approve of the job he's doing – the lowest ever in that poll; 54 percent disapprove. Perhaps reflecting his broken 'you can keep your insurance' promise, only 44 percent said the President is honest and trustworthy. And about that promise came some advice today from former President Bill Clinton.

[CBS News Graphic: "[President Obama] Job Performance: Approve, 39%; Disapprove, 54%; Honest And Trustworthy: Yes, 44%; Source: Quinnipiac; Margin of Error: 1.9 Pts.]"

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (from ozy.com interview): I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people, and let them keep what they've got.

PELLEY: So, Major Garrett at the White House, how is that suggestion playing there tonight?

GARRETT: Well, Scott, two senior advisors told us there was no coordination with former President Bill Clinton on that comment, and you can see why. Clinton's comments focused even more attention on the most glaring political problem facing ObamaCare: those consumers on the individual market who had their policies canceled, but can't afford the new policies that comply with ObamaCare. The White House is looking for a fix, but it hasn't found one yet.

One option is to reinstate the canceled policies, but that would require the cooperation of state insurance commissioners across the country – something the White House cannot count on and cannot necessarily enforce. Another option is to provide more subsidies, so people can afford those canceled insurance policies. But, Scott, senior advisors have not figured out a way to do that under the law.

PELLEY: More on this to come – Major, thanks very much.

— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.