WASHINGTON — Just when you think things could not get worse for the Bush White House, they do. The first year of President Bush's second term was hardly one to look back upon fondly. The Hurricane Katrina mess, the indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff for lying to a grand jury, the Harriet Miers Supreme Court debacle, lack of support for his efforts to overhaul Social Security and the protests of Cindy Sheehan, the California mother whose son was killed in Iraq, combined to knock the president off his stride and shake public confidence in his leadership.
Bush's job approval rating fell below 50% last May and hasn't come close to the midpoint since. He ended the year at 41% approval in a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll, and is at 39% now.