As a possible government shutdown looms, one of the GOP's top political strategists reminded Republicans Thursday of the positive impact the shutdowns of the mid-'90s had on the political fortunes of then-President Clinton.
In a polling memo posted on his website, Republican strategist Karl Rove wrote, "The shutdowns helped inprove Clinton's political standing, boosting both his approval rating and perceptions of him as a strong leader."
Rove referenced a Gallup poll that showed Clinton's approval rating in the mid-40s before the first shutdown, but jumping to 54 percent by the time government reopened in November of 1995.
"Clinton's approval rating never again fell below 50 percent for the remainder of his presidency," wrote Rove, who said that while the shutdowns didn't jeopardize the GOP's hold on Congress, they did help position Clinton for reelection in 1996, when he won easily over Republican Bob Dole.
"President Obama's ratings as a strong leader have slipped this year — Gallup polling last week found he had dropped eight points," Rove concluded. "Republicans should be careful not to let him recover as he gears up for his 2012 reelection campaign."