Nightly News   |  July 24, 2013

Obama attempts to channel public’s anger

The new NBC News/WSJ poll shows the lowest approval rate for Obama since two years ago, and only 29 percent believes the country is heading in the right direction. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. the news isn't so much that americans are fed up with washington and disapprove of the job congress is doing. sadly that's pretty much a constant of late. but it is news that our discontent has set an all-time record. our new nbc news/" wall street journal " poll shows some numbers not seen in the history of polling. 83% of us now disapprove of congress. the president is riding a 45% approval. his lowest number notably since two summers ago. it perhaps fueled his trip to illinois and then missouri today. the places like that, a whole lot easier to distance yourself from washington . our chief white house correspondent political director chuck todd here with us in our studios in new york with all of it. chuck, good evening.

>> that's what this is. when presidents are in trouble, things aren't going well in washington they get out of washington . the president here trying to channel the public's anger and try to reconnect with it. a public that seems to be slowly disconnecting from him.

>> reporter: president obama traveled to gailsburg, illinois in an attempt to re-energize his presidency and focused on trying to speed up the economic recovery.

>> today, five years after the start of that great recession, america has fought its way back.

>> reporter: in a new nbc news " wall street journal " poll, 29% believe the country is headed in the right direction near a two-year low. a growing majority believes the country is on the wrong track. the president acknowledged during this recovery the middle-class is stagnating.

>> even though our businesses are creating new jobs and broken record profits nearly all the income games of the past ten years have continued to flow to the top 1%.

>> reporter: while unemployment has fallen, from a high of 10% to 7.6% today, these folks at a florida jobs fair this week are still frustrated.

>> you can send out 100 resumes and you never get a response. there are so many people out there looking for jobs.

>> right now it is terrible. it is terrible. you can do a lot better.

>> reporter: in illinois , the president's talk wasn't just all about the economy. he blamed republicans in congress for obstructing his agenda and trying to repeal his signature health care law .

>> stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete idea with the country.

>> reporter: on this point the public agrees with the president. 56% called congressional republicans too inflexible when dealing with the president. only 19% believe they are striking the right balance. still the public is not very optimistic about the president's second term. just 43% think he can be effective. a majority, 53%, believe heave won't be able to get much done. but the president pledged to try.

>> the only thing i care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1, 276 days of my trm to make this country work for working americans again.

>> brian, one of his big challenges is implementing health care . right now all time record low of people in our poll thinks his health care law is a good idea. just 364%. a lot of challenges.

>> chuck todd covering it all in the new york studios. chuck, thanks.