Ten days after staging a splashy Rose Garden announcement of the prisoner swap that sent five high-ranking Taliban commanders to freedom in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, it’s safe to say that the attempt to garner good PR has flopped. A new CBS poll on the subject finds a plurality of Americans disapprove of the deal, 45/37, which rises to a majority among the veterans Obama clearly hoped to impress:
Just over a week after U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed by the Taliban, a CBS News Poll shows 45% of Americans disapprove of the deal that saw him released in exchange for five Taliban militants, while 37% approve of it. About one in five do not have an opinion.
Views differ by political party: most Republicans disapprove of the deal, while just over half of Democrats approve. Among those who have served in the military, 55% disapprove of the prisoner swap.
Most Americans — 56% — say the U.S. paid too high a price to secure Bergdahl’s release. Among veterans, that figure rises to 65%.
CBS has not yet released the full polling data, but not much about what they have released can make the White House happy. The only support Obama gets for the deal is from fellow Democrats, and even that’s rather soft. Only a bare plurality thinks Obama got reasonable terms for the swap, 42/39. Among all Americans, a near-majority of 49% believe it will increase the threat of terrorism against the US, and 40% think it will have no effect. The number of people who believe it will lower the threat of terrorism against the US comes to a whopping three percent.
On the question of informing Congress, the news gets much worse for the President. Despite insisting that the speed of the deal made notification and consultation impossible, 72% of respondents think Obama should have complied with the law. On this question, Obama doesn’t even get support from fellow Democrats, 55% of whom think he should have worked with Congress on the issue.
In that context, it’s not difficult to see why the House has decided to look into Obama’s refusal to comply with the law:
If Obama conceived the Rose Garden event as a way to ingratiate himself with veterans after the VA scandal, it’s backfired in a big way. The same can be said about doing this trade as a means to advance his goal of shutting down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, because this release of the biggest non-AQ detainees has made that goal radioactive all over again — especially in the arrogant manner in which it was handled.