Obama calls himself 'The Bear' as criticism mounts

CNN/Pete Souza/White House Photo

President Barack Obama jokes with a young kid along Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota on Thursday, June 26, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014 - 4:50pm

His poll numbers are in the basement. Chaos is erupting in the Middle East.

And as President Obama's second term wanes on, his critics are already dubbing him a "lame duck".

But the commander-in-chief is trying to get himself associated with a different kind of animal.

It's fair to say president Obama is doing more than working through some cabin fever these days.

"The Bear is loose," Obama said during a speech.

Now, these presidential "Bear" sightings happen every week.

But this creature of Washington, is hungering for more than coffee runs and fast food.

As he told a town hall in Minnesota, "I'm like a caged bear and every once in a while, I've got to break loose."

Unlike an actual bear that tried to escape to the Minnesota woods this week, Mr. Obama wants to reconnect with the voters outside the white house fence and beyond the beltway noise.

Now, The White House is making these getaways part of his schedule, by having the President spend more time with every day Americans.

This week it was Rebekah Erler's turn. She’s a Minnesota mom who wrote a letter to the President about her struggles making ends meet.

"I got the chance to start a conversation about what a lot of people like me are going through," Erler explained.

With the president's poll numbers approaching record lows after bearish stories from Obamacare to the V.A, Democratic Party strategists say the looser the better.

"Oh it's an election year, so there's no question that the President will visit not just those important states but those not so important districts so I'm sure that there's a little bit of politics in all of this," said Donna Brazille, who is a Democratic strategist & CNN Political Analyst.

No surprise, with the mid-term election battle with Republicans under way the claws are coming out.

"They don't do anything, except block me and call me names," Obama said during a recent speech.

The president prefers "The Bear,” and aides say he's out to convince Americans that Washington can be more than the circus, when he's not the popular exhibit he once was.

"I don't want you to ever forget that and I don't want you to be cynical. Cynicism is popular these days but hope is better."

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