In Tucson, Obama Rose Above the Fray

Obama focused on the victims in his memorial speech in Arizona.

By + More

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 and some comments that capture how he sees the president's week ending.

John Zogby on Week: 104

"Tragedy almost always brings our nation together. The Tucson, Ariz. shootings could be the exception, a reality that brought more importance to Barack Obama's healing words at the memorial service. Our interactive poll showed how great a challenge Obama faced. It found a majority saying the shootings will either bring no change in how politicians talk about their opponents (47 percent) or that there is nothing wrong with current political rhetoric (12 percent). As expected, Obama rose above the partisan finger-pointing and instead focused on the victims and the suffering of their families and community. He used their lives, especially Christina Taylor Green, 9, as examples of what we have in common rather than what sets us apart; and why we dishonor them if we continue to vilify those with whom we disagree. The arena rally setting was at times off-putting, but in the end the crowd's energy amplified Obama's words. It was both a sensitive and compelling performance. In comparison, Sarah Palin's video and accusations of 'blood libel' against her made her look smaller and Obama so much bigger."

This week's grade: A

Last week's: B+

John Zogby is president and CEO of Zogby International, a public opinion, research, and business solutions firm with experience working in more than 70 countries around the globe. 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 is also the author of The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream (Random House).

  • Check out our gallery of Whispers political caricatures.
  • Want your Whispers first? Check out U.S. News Weekly.
  • See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.