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Nickelback, more popular than Congress

The United States Congress has had a rough go of it lately. Adding to the historic amount of bickering and gridlock that has paralyzed the legislative body, Congress took a huge PR hit with the near-disastrous handling of the fiscal cliff debacle (and will revisit it in a few weeks when they have to take up the debt ceiling). And just moments after finally approving a lackluster fiscal cliff deal, House Republicans refused to take up a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief funds (though they later took it up after being bullied into it by people with common sense). Not that Republicans have been alone in facing the ire of angry constituents; Dems are still smarting from the recent scandal-ridden resignation of Illinois' Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Given all of the above, it's no surprise to find that Congress's approval rating is very, very low.

So low that responders to poll questions by (the admittedly Democratic-leaning) Public Policy Polling preferred cockroaches, lice, colonoscopies, and Canadian meh-rock band Nickelback to Congress.

It's gross to have lice but at least they can be removed in a way that given the recent reelection rates members of Congress evidently can't: Lice 67 percent, Congress 19 percent

Colonoscopies are not a terribly pleasant experience but at least they have some redeeming value that most voters aren't seeing in Congress: Colonoscopies 58 percent, Congress 31 percent

It may be true that everyone hates Nickelback, but apparently everyone hates Congress even more: Nickelback 39 percent, Congress 32 percent.


Other items more popular than Congress, according to PPP: Carnies (39 percent to 31 percent), root canals (56 percent to 32 percent) and those much-maligned enemies of freedom circa the Second Iraq War, the French, had a higher rating as well (46 percent to 37 percent).

But it wasn't all bad news for Congress:

By relatively close margins it beats out Lindsey Lohan (45/41), playground bullies (43/38), and telemarketers (45/35). And it posts wider margins over the Kardashians (49/36), John Edwards (45/29), lobbyists (48/30), Fidel Castro (54/32), Gonorrhea (53/28), Ebola (53/25), Communism (57/23), North Korea (61/26), and meth labs (60/21)


While this may seem like the nadir for Congress, they just swore in a new class last week, meaning they may be able to turn their image around. But given the need to revisit more debt talks in the coming weeks, there's still a possibility this new class could dig the hole even deeper.

[h/t The Hill]

Hollywood action icon Clint Eastwood caused quite the stir at the Republican National Convention when he hit the stage with an empty chair, no script and a freewheeling attack on the policies of the Obama administration.

Now, Eastwood is back and as serious as can be in his call to "fire" Obama after four years of so-called failed policies.

The last time Eastwood hit the airwaves with a sober message of importance, he was hawking Chryslers and it was Halftime in America. There was conjecture during the Super Bowl when that spot appeared that a political message was embedded in the 2-minute spot. There's no doubt this time where the actor stands.

TAMPA--Clint Eastwood delivered a loopy and rambling speech--more like a stand-up act-- Thursday night at the Republican Convention--as he tried to make the case to elect Mitt Romney.

Tweeted Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, "Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic. He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him."

Eastwood's name leaked out earlier Thursday as the surprise "mystery guest."
When he took to the stage--at a convention where everything is highly scripted and speeches vetted--Eastwood riffed.

"Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know, they're all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that's what people think, but that's not really the case. There is a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats in Hollywood. It's just that conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, are -- play it a little more close to vest. They don't go around hot- dogging it."



Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) outside the Clearwater, Fl. hotel where the Illinois delegation is staying for the Republican National Convention.

(Video by Lynn Sweet)

TAMPA--Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) on Thursday said the Democrats are wasting their time attacking Mitt Romney for his tenure at Bain Capital. Millions of dolllars have been spent on Bain ads and "it has not had an impact for them," Roskam said. Romney accepts the nomination on Thursday night---and his time at Bain will be featured at the final night of the convention.

On Wednesday, President Obama sat down for a virtual town hall on Reddit, the social media news and sharing site.

In his r/IAmA chat, he took on a variety of questions, from money in politics, to his toughest decisions to net freedom concerns.

Here's a sample of the fare:

[-]gobearss 1337 points 18 hours ago

ow do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?

[-]PresidentObamaObama[S] 2137 points 17 hours ago

t's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store - so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm - even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!

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That "NOT BAD" signoff, by the way, is a sly reference to the Obama "Rage Face" meme that has been popular with Redditors. The one pictured was posted by Redditor thrsdy.

The Washington Post has a breakdown on how the traffic for the Q&A was - enough to seize up the site at one point:

  • -- 3.8 million page views on the first page of the Obama Q&A
  • -- 2.6 million unique page views on the first page (and still going)
  • -- Over 22,000 comments. To be more exact, 23,082 as of 11:25 a.m., Eastern Thursday.
Obama has used YouTube and Google+ in the past to take questions as well.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney's camp will be taking to Twitter Thursday when he makes his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president. It's not unusual that politicians hit the Twittersphere anymore, but the way Romney's campaign is doing it is new - via a sponsored, or purchased, trending topic hashtag.

Twitter confirmed to The Verge that this is the first time a candidate has bought a trend.

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Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States.

I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity -- and I know we can do this.

I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old -- and I know that we are ready.

Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment -- to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

I'm the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.

They've run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they've got left.

As Paul Ryan thundered away in his acceptance speech Wednesday night at the Obama administration and the task ahead as he sees it for the Republican ticket and party, he had at least on fan in his hands - fellow GOP darling, and Wisconsinite, Gov. Scott Walker.

In the video above, Walker, who survived a furious recall election earlier this year, is seen with a tear streaming down his face as Ryan pushes the crowd to get the job done.

Crying in the crowd probably never happened at a Zeppelin show, though.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker cries as Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo)

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An early look at what Ann Romney intends to talk about tonight at the Republican National Convention. Her speech is scheduled for 9:05 Central before Gov. Chris Christie's keynote:

...Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts.

I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family. I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours.

Tonight I want to talk to you about love.

...

Mitt's dad never graduated from college. Instead, he became a carpenter.

He worked hard, and he became the head of a car company, and then the governor of Michigan.

When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together.

..

I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a "storybook marriage." Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer.

A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.

...

At every turn in his life, this man I met at a high school dance, has helped lift up others. He did it with the Olympics, when many wanted to give up.

...

This is the man America needs.

This is the man who will wake up every day with the determination to solve the problems that others say can't be solved, to fix what others say is beyond repair. This is the man who will work harder than anyone so that we can work a little less hard.

I can't tell you what will happen over the next four years. But I can only stand here tonight, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an American, and make you this solemn commitment:

This man will not fail.

This man will not let us down.

This man will lift up America!

Excerpt via Politico.

TAMPA--The 2012 Republican platform was released at the convention on Tuesday. READ IT HERE