(CNN) – Iraq’s military claims it has retaken the City of Ramadi from ISIS. Capturing Ramadi is among the cornerstones of President Obama’s strategy against the group. Americans are still not convinced his plan is working.
With the U.S. led coalition at war with ISIS half a world away, President Obama just got a fresh reminder during his vacation in Hawaii; Americans are worried the terrorists are winning the fight.
A new CNN/ORC poll shows Americans have lost confidence in the Obama Administration’s ability to prevent another attack and defeat ISIS.
64% disapprove of the president’s handling of ISIS. And just 51% of Americans believe the government can protect against a terrorist attack. Down sharply from 65% in 2010. That deep pessimism has frustrated the president.
Obama on NPR: “I’m confident that we’re going to prevail.”
But Mr. Obama wants Americans to feel that confidence. CNN has learned the White House has asked top officials across the government to do a better job of selling the ISIS plan.
Obama on NPR: “I think that there is a legitimate criticism of what I’ve been doing and our administration has been doing, in the sense that we haven’t, on a regular basis described all the work that we’ve been doing for more than a year now to defeat ISIL.”
And now the President may be able to point to some progress. Iraqi security forces combined with the support of coalition air strikes, apparently succeeded in driving ISIS out of the crucial city of Ramadi.
Even republicans in congress are optimistic.
Rep. Will Hurd, (R) Texas: “It seems like a victory. We should proceed with caution. If we hold Ramadi, this is a good thing for our strategy in that region and against ISIS. And these are the types of things we should be doing more.”
It could be a vindication of the President’s cautious approach of relying on Iraqi and Syrian forces instead of U.S. troops on the ground.
The latest CNN/ORC poll finds are split right down the middle on whether to send ground troops to fight ISIS. Which explains in part why the president is resistant to such a move, as he said last month defending his ISIS strategy.
Reporter’s question: “Why can’t we take out these bastards?
Obama: “Jim, I just spent the last three questions answering that same question…We can retake territory. As long as we leave troops there, we can hold it. But that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating dynamics that are producing these kinds of violent extremist groups.”
A senior administration official says the battle for Ramadi is not over yet, and more work still needs to be done to clear the city.