Never let them see you sweat

Fox's Neil Cavuto pumps up the president.

Published August 9, 2007 11:02AM (EDT)

On Fox News Wednesday, Neil Cavuto began an interview with George W. Bush by telling the president, "I notice, in the heat, you just don't sweat."

It went downhill from there.

After prodding Bush to criticize Hillary Clinton's proposals for dealing with the problems in the mortgage industry, Cavuto turned to the president's poll numbers.

Cavuto: Let me ask you, sir, you've been moving up in some of the latest polls.

Bush: Oh, yes?

Cavuto: You're in the mid-30s. I know you'd say you don't pay attention.

Bush: I wouldn't know.

Neither would Cavuto, apparently. We're not sure how Cavuto defines "mid-30s," but we do know what "moving up" means. We're also aware of the approval ratings Bush has received in pretty much every national poll taken since June 1. Here they are, in chronological order: 32, 32, 34, 34, 28, 29, 32, 26, 32, 31, 27, 26, 29, 33, 29, 31, 29, 32, 33, 33, 30, 29, 31, 29. In Fox's own poll, Bush's approval rating dropped from 34 percent in early June to 31 percent in late June and then climbed in mid-July to 32 percent -- a number the network itself declared "dismal" at the time.

Although Bush professed not to know about any of this, he did seem to acknowledge the dire political straits that Cavuto would not.

When Cavuto asked him whether the early start to the 2008 presidential campaign might be the cause for his allegedly new-and-improved place in the polls, Bush said he didn't know and added: "I'm just glad I'm not out there running." And when Cavuto told Bush that the Democratic presidential candidates are "all running against you, and you're not up for election," the president observed: "Well, I'm an easy target, yes."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Fox News George W. Bush War Room