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Last night's Philly focus group

From NBC's Mark Murray
Here's a story that one of us just wrote for MSNBC.com:

PHILADELPHIA - To say that President Barack Obama has a lot on his plate would be an understatement.

On Tuesday night, he will announce he's sending some 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. At the same time, he's trying to wind down from another war in Iraq.

He's also dealing with an unemployment rate that now hovers above 10 percent (and probably will go higher when the new jobs numbers are released on Friday). And to top it off, he's attempting to shepherd what would be one of the most significant changes in U.S. domestic policy — reforming the nation's health care system.

As Obama tries to juggle these tasks and priorities, several participants at a focus group conducted here on Monday night said they were willing to give the president more time to fix the economy and manage the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The group consisted of five Democrats, three Republicans and three independents from the area.

"It is going to take some time," said Wadeeah, a 32-year-old African-American woman who voted for Obama. "It is not going to happen overnight."

"He's got a lot to do," added Pamela, a white 59-year-old political independent who also voted for Obama. "I think he's doing a good job. I think he's slowly improving the country."

Cheryll, a white 36-year-old Obama voter, agreed. "You can't snap your fingers and make them problems go away. The excitement has gone. But the hope hasn't."

But the focus group — conducted by Democratic pollster Peter Hart for the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center — was divided over whether the president is trying to do too much.

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