Downgrade May Cloud Obama Re-election Bid

The downgrade of the U.S.’s AAA credit rating by Standard & Poor’s darkens President Barack Obama’s re-election chances while also damaging members of Congress from both parties as they prepare for the 2012 campaign, political analysts said.

With Obama’s job-approval rating at 48 percent and an all- time high of 82 percent of Americans giving Congress negative marks in a New York Times/CBS News Poll taken this week, the downgrade will hurt the president and lawmakers by fueling economic uncertainty, possibly raising interest rates and wounding national pride, analysts said.

“Americans expect to be No. 1 at everything,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. A downgrade is “a great insult and humiliating to the country.”

Added Bonjean, “If this brings rising interest rates on credit cards and mortgages, it is going to send a political shockwave throughout the system, and there will definitely be a ‘throw-the-bums-out’ mentality.”

S&P’s move deals a blow to Obama’s political standing by giving Republican presidential candidates the chance to attack him for being the first U.S. president to preside over a downgrade, said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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