Obama Report Card: A Grade of 'C' for a Difficult Week

Obama stays steady amid Afghanistan troop call, Jimmy Carter on racism, and Governor Paterson flap.

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By now you've noticed that we've made a big change in Whispers. Gone is the ObamaMeter, replaced by John Zogby's weekly report card. This week, Zogby gives the president a solid C for the reasons he spells out below.

We made the change to make the feature easier to read and to erase the confusion some saw in the ObamaMeter. Each week, Zogby used to give a performance number from 1 to 100 for Obama. It was based on his polling, his review of the news and mood in Washington, and his frequent travels and interaction with real people. But some thought the number was an Obama popularity or job approval number, which it wasn't, and that resulted in a little confusion. So we've changed it to an A-to-F report card scale. Tell us what you think. E-mail me at pbedard@usnews.com with your comments. Now, on to the Obama Report Card.

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Pollster John Zogby updates our weekly Obama Report Card with a grade on the president's performance. Zogby uses his polling, expert analysis, and interaction with major players to come up with a grade that captures how the president performed during the week.

John Zogby on Week 36:

"President Obama's grade this week has to be based on degree of difficulty. Over the past seven days, Jimmy Carter brought up the unwelcome topic of race, the generals said they needed more troops in Afghanistan or the mission would fail, word leaked that Obama wanted New York Gov. David Paterson not to seek election, China surprised everyone by saying it would do more to halt carbon emissions, and Israel again said no to putting a freeze on West Bank settlements. All this is taking place as Obama is meeting with world leaders and speaking at the United Nations. None of these has, as yet, caused major embarrassment or trouble for Obama. Meanwhile, healthcare reform is moving forward in the Senate Finance Committee, and Massachusetts is set to give the Democrats a 60th vote in the Senate with a replacement for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. And as to the question of 'overexposure in the media,' Obama actually seems to solidify his base more when he is in the open."

Grade for the week: C

Last week: C

John Zogby is president and CEO of Zogby International, a public opinion, research, and business solutions firm with experience in more than 70 countries. Founded and led by Zogby since 1984, Zogby International specializes in telephone, Internet, and face-to-face survey research and analysis for corporate, political, nonprofit, and governmental clients. The firm is headquartered in Utica, N.Y. John Zogby also is the author of The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream.