Yesterday on the Colbert Report, former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow defended Bush’s 19 percent approval rating, saying the public once “hated” Lincoln:
COLBERT: Latest polls have his approval rating at 19 percent, which is low for a President but very high for a fetish.
SNOW: Ouch. … They actually hated Truman. They hated Lincoln. Lincoln as late as late-1864 was telling his guys to get ready the next incoming administration of George McClellan.
Former White House staffers have adopted the Bush-Lincoln comparison as a talking point. Karl Rove said Bush has a Lincoln-like ability to “get to the nub of the thing.” Alberto Gonzales also recently compared Bush’s presidency to Lincoln’s.
UPDATE: Atrios notes, “I’m sure plenty of people did [hate Lincoln], but he did manage to win the 1864 election by 10 points.”