“Bush’s overall job approval among all voters has been declining since before he put his hand on his family’s bible and took the oath of office for the second time,” writes the New York Times. “In mid January 2005, it was 49 percent among all Americans. In a Times/CBS News poll in late April of this year it was 32 percent. It has been hovering around 30 percent since February 2006.”
As a result, Bush affiliations have become baggage for his allies. Just as they did earlier this year at the CPAC conference, the Republican presidential candidates last night ran from President Bush’s record, going to great lengths to avoid invoking his name.
President Bush’s name was invoked by Republican candidates only once during yesterday’s 90-minute debate, in response to a question about Scooter Libby’s pardon. By comparison, Ronald Reagan’s name was cited 19 times.
Ronald Reagan mentions: 19 times
George W. Bush mentions: 1 time
MATTHEWS: Let me go to, Senator — do you think Scooter Libby should be —
BROWNBACK: Let the legal process move forward, and I’d leave that up to President Bush. And I think he could go either way on that.
Both Jeb Bush and George Herbert Walker Bush were invoked by the candidates as often as George W. Bush.