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High marks for Michelle; mixed reviews for Obama's cabinet

December 27, 2012 16:16 IST

While United States President Barack Obama and his Cabinet received mixed reviews in a new opinion poll, the first lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have scored high marks for their performance.

Obama, 51, who has won a second term in the White House, had an approval rating of 52 per cent while 43 per cent of those who took part in the poll said they disapproved his handling of various issues.

Vice President Joe Biden's approval rating stood at 54 per cent, with 40 per cent disapproving of how the 70-year-old Democrat handled his role, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released on Wednesday.

But Obama's wife, Michelle, 48, got high marks as she prepares for another four years in the White House.

Seventy-three per cent of Americans approved of the way Michelle was handling her job as first lady, compared to 20 per cent who disapproved.

Among the causes the first lady has championed since 2008 is the "Let's Move!" programme, designed to combat childhood obesity by encouraging healthier eating habits and exercise.

She has also taken on unemployment among America's military veterans through the "Joining Forces" programme, which matches servicemen and women with job search resources.

In the poll, Hillary Clinton, 65, also received high marks - 66 per cent of Americans approved of the job she is doing, compared to 30 per cent who disapproved, CNN reported.

The poll was taken almost entirely ahead of a scathing report reviewing the September attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans, including the US Ambassador dead.

The report cited "systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the department Clinton heads.

Clinton is on her way out as the nation's top diplomat, a move she has long planned. While many speculate she's considering a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, she has consistently claimed she's out of politics for good, and will use her post-State Department life to relax.

Last week Obama nominated US Senator John Kerry, 69, to succeed Clinton, and Kerry is expected to be confirmed easily by his colleagues in the Senate.

Another Cabinet member, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, received lower marks in the CNN poll released Wednesday.

Thirty-six per cent of respondents approved of the job Geithner, 51, is doing at the Treasury, compared with 42 per cent who disapproved and 21 per cent who were unsure.

Like Clinton, Geithner has said that he would step down for a second Obama term, but not before the fiscal cliff crisis is resolved.

The poll was conducted with 620 Americans by telephone from December 17-18.

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