Hillary Clinton’s Job Approval Rating Higher than Obama’s

obamaAt the 100-day mark last week, Hillary Clinton could finally say she beat Barack Obama.The most recent polls show Clinton with a whopping job approval rating of 71% as secretary of state, while the new President topped out at 65%. Even among Hillary admirers, that lofty rating is a bit of a stunner, given her past reputation as one of the most polarizing figures on the American scene.

“She’s acting like a statesman and diplomat and representing her President instead of herself,” said a prominent Democrat. “She hasn’t gone off on her own as many predicted. It’s been very rehabilitating for her image.”

Her husband has helped the rehab by stifling, somewhat, his yen for headlines. Concerns that his fund-raising and foundations might pose conflicts of interest, which caused the only friction at her confirmation hearings, have not been realized – yet.

Hillary also has labored to smooth over the lingering rifts from the campaign with Obama and his inner circle, most notably First Lady Michelle Obama.

Declaring a truce at Foggy Bottom in March, Obama joked about her refusal during the campaign to mention Clinton’s name, calling her “the other candidate.” With a grin, Obama said, “Let me thank Secretary Clinton – I love saying that!”

Even the usual trashers of all things Clinton had a hard time being critical.

“I’m not, but give me time,” said Elliott Abrams, who served on the National Security Council of former President George W. Bush and in Ronald Reagan’s State Department.

Abrams noted that Obama has absorbed much of the foreign policy flak that would have gone Clinton’s way by getting himself stuck in no-win situations, such as the “happy, smiley” photo op with flaky Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

He knocked Clinton for putting human rights on the back burner on her China trip, but gave her high marks for turning around a department that had been on the losing end of turf wars with the Pentagon under Bush.

Clinton is “using her political talents in the building. She’s talking to people; she’s nice to people. Morale is good,” said Abrams.

And she’s playing well with others. Unlike former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, who was barely civil to Bush Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates had Clinton’s back at a Senate hearing last week.

“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Gates said repeatedly as Clinton rattled off talking points.

Obama has piled the diplomatic plate high for Clinton, tasking her with risky openings to Iran and Cuba, while getting North Korea to disarm, putting down the Taliban threat in Pakistan and bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.

But Clinton gave herself a pat on the back for her initial efforts in a 13-page “100 Day Report” put out by State, noting her visits to 18 countries and meetings with 150 foreign leaders while logging more than 71,000 air miles since taking office.

In the report, Clinton pledged a high-profile focus on “tackling crises” around the world and a new emphasis on humility – not a trait normally associated with a former presidential candidate.

Clinton said she would give priority to “acknowledging our own errors where we have made them, which will serve as an example to others to do the same.”

The new and improved Hillary is being noted – even by Republicans. “It’s nice to see the relationship the two of you have built,” Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told Clinton and Gates last week, “and I’m very pleased with what you’re doing.”

{NY Daily News/Elisha Ferber-Matzav.com Newscenter}