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Mitch Perry Report for 12.18.15 — Obama making course correction on optics of being a wartime president?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Like President Barack Obama, I’m flying to California today. I’m leaving for vacation but in the president’s case, his California trip is to speak with the victims of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, before departing for Hawaii for the next few weeks. I’ll be spending time back home with family and friends in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I’ll be in the air when the president gives his annual end-of-the-year news conference, where undoubtedly he’ll be asked about the fact that his leadership has come under fire in the wake of the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published earlier this week shows that 60 percent of the American people disapprove of how he’s handling the Islamic State. And you may recall that Sunday night address to the nation a few weeks ago discussing these issues didn’t appear to hit the mark.

Apparently, POTUS gets it now. As Peter Baker with The New York Times reports today, “But Mr. Obama said he now realizes that he was slow to respond to public fears after terrorist attacks in Paris and California, acknowledging that his low-key approach led Americans to worry that he was not doing enough to keep the country safe. He has engaged in a blitz of public events lately to try to convince them otherwise, including a visit on Thursday to the National Counterterrorism Center.”

Although the presidential campaign season may start to wane down in the coming days, Ted Cruz is apparently going to be working hard all the way up until Christmas Eve.

On Thursday, the Texas Senator began a seven-day, 12 city tour in Minnesota, where he kept up the back-and-forth criticism about immigration with Marco Rubio.

Sorry, but I’m not riveted about this argument, as both try to prove how tough they are on the issue, and against “amnesty.” It’s necessary rhetoric in the GOP primary, but we’ll see how that strategy works when Donald Trump, Cruz, or whoever ends up being the GOP nominee with that same attitude in the general election.

Meanwhile, do people really believe that Chris Christie still has a chance? As Politico reported Thursday, Christie’s strategy is New Hampshire or bust. So much hype for the former federal prosecutor, as he reminded the nation five different times at Tuesday night’s debate.

And speaking of debates, the Democrats engage in their third debate Saturday night, the Saturday night before Christmas, which maybe the biggest night of the year where people aren’t watching TV. Just the way that Debbie Wasserman Schultz set it up.

“We’re playing the hand we were dealt,” said Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Bernie Sanders about having a debate on one of the biggest shopping days/nights of the year. “I guess Christmas Eve was booked.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all.

In other news …

Thursday we reported exclusively on how a financial dispute between the organizers of Floridians for Solar Choice and their signature gathering firm has resulted in that firm holding back over 200,000 signatures to help the solar plan get on the 2016 ballot, all but dooming their chances.

A few hours later, the organization announced that they were looking forward to getting the measure on the 2018 ballot.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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