Matthews: Bush’s Warrantless Domestic Surveillance Is “A Winner Politically”

Today on the Chris Matthews show, Matthews asserted that the President warrantless domestic spying program was “a winner politically”:

MATTHEWS: Elisabeth, a couple weeks ago the Democrats thought they had the president’s number on this NSA spying thing and then Karl Rove came out a week ago and said “no, this is a big winner.” How is the president turning the NSA surveillance question into a winner politically?

ELISABETH BUMILLER, NYT: It took them a while. It took them about a month to get their act together on this…

Three of the most recent polls on the issue paint an completely different picture:

CNN/USA Today (Jan. 20-22): “As you may know, the Bush Administration has been wiretapping telephone conversations between U.S. citizens living in the United States and suspected terrorists living in other countries without getting a court order allowing it to do so. Do you think the Bush Administration was right or wrong in wiretapping these conversations without obtaining a court order?”

Right 46%. Wrong 51%.

CBS/NYT (Jan 20-25): “After 9/11, George W. Bush authorized government wiretaps on some phone calls in the U.S. without getting court warrants. Do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush doing this?”

Approve 46%. Disapprove 50%.

LA Times/Bloomberg (Jan 22-25): “As you may know, George W. Bush authorized federal government agencies to use electronic surveillance to monitor phone calls and emails within the United States without first getting a court warrant to do so. Do you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?”

Acceptable 49%. Unacceptable 45%.

So 2 of the 3 most recent polls found most Americans disapproved of the program. Another found a slim plurality approved of the program. Then, Chris Matthews pronounces it a clear “winner” for the President and marvels at Karl Rove’s genius.

More on Matthews at the Open Letter To Chris Matthews blog.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.

UPDATE II: Since this post was published yesterday, a new ABC/Washington Post was released that supports Matthews view.

Washington Post/ABC (Jan. 23-26) “As you may know, the National Security Agency has been investigating people suspected of involvement with terrorism by secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading e-mails between some people in the United States and other countries, without first getting court approval to do so. Would you consider this wiretapping of telephone calls and e-mails without court approval as an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?”

Acceptable 56%. Unacceptable 43%.