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First 100 days: New poll, car talk

The Washington Post on the latest WashPo/ABC poll, which has Obama's approval rating at 66%: "The number of Americans who believe that the nation is headed in the right direction has roughly tripled since Barack Obama's election, and the public overwhelmingly blames the excesses of the financial industry, rather than the new president, for turmoil in the economy… Two-thirds of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the country's top job, and six in 10 give him good marks on issue No. 1, the flagging economy. Those figures are little changed from last month. But he receives lower marks for dealing with the federal budget deficit after submitting a plan that would see continued huge deficits over the next decade. Fifty-two percent back Obama on his approach to the deficit, with the public split about evenly over whether belt-tightening or big increases in spending should be used to try to improve the economy."

Here's the Boston Globe's lead on Obama's auto remarks yesterday: "President Obama roiled stocks and provoked free-market critics yesterday by rebuffing carmakers' turnaround plans and imposing strict new conditions for rescuing General Motors and Chrysler."

The New York Times' analysis: "As an assertion of government control over a huge swath of the industrial landscape, President Obama's decision to reshape the automobile industry has few precedents. In essentially taking command of General Motors and telling Chrysler to merge with a foreign competitor or cease to exist, Mr. Obama was saying that economic conditions were sufficiently dire to justify a new level of government involvement in the management of corporate America."

"His message amounted to an inversion of the relationship that had helped define the rise of American manufacturing might in the 20th century; now, Mr. Obama seemed to be saying, what is good for America will have to be good enough for General Motors."

The Wall Street Journal says Obama's incursion into the auto industry "would be fraught with political risk and controversy for the Obama administration, now that it is becoming clear that government involvement in the operations of GM and Chrysler will dwarf that of any other company receiving U.S. aid."

"President Obama's new ultimatum to U.S. auto manufacturers threw Capitol Hill into turmoil Monday as lawmakers worried about the effects the plans could have on their districts," The Hill writes.

The New York Daily News cleverly labels Obama, "Autocrat!" on its cover.