NEWS STAND:Is Obama Too Bourgie, Is Harold Ford Sowing Confusion, Does Guinea Have Hope?

Our take on today's headlines.

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Obama in New Hampshire - Getty Images

IS OBAMA TOO BOURGIE FOR AMERICA?
President Obama is from a solid middle-class background but tell that to disgruntled Americans. Two-thirds of Americans believe his economic policies have hurt the country or made no difference, and half think he does not understand their problems, according to the Washington Post.  Many Americans say the president is disconnected from their problems. Conservatives call him elitist, code words for "uppity." The Prez has tried to counter that image by rolling up his sleeves and plunging into the crowds. Yesterday it was a trip to New Hampshire that included the required visit to small businesses and Q&A sessions in a school gym.

Reporters note that Obama is dropping his gs, loosening his ties and talking about "folks" a lot during the barnstorming tour that started after the shock loss of the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. Things could be worse. A GOP poll released by Daily Kos yesterday reported that 39 percent of Republicans think the President should be impeached. Most Republicans either believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (36%) or they are not sure (22%) while 42% believe he is an American.

FORD BACKERS CLASH WITH INCUMBENT'S SUPPORTERS
Harold Ford Jr.'s plunge into the U.S. Senate race has left New York's rich and powerful fighting mad.  The New York Times reports that the former Tennessee Congressman's supporters and those of the incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand are engaged in heated exchanges as each side lines up wealthy supporters.

"He's not a real New Yorker," the paper quoted one Gillibrand supporter as saying to Orin Kramer, a hedge fund manager who has supported Ford.  Both sides are seeking the support of the financial community, the most generous campaign contributors in New York elections.

Ford has declared that he will make a decision in 30 days on whether to challenge Gillibrand, who was appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when she became President Obama's secretary of state.

HOPE FOR GUINEA
The last time we looked, the West African nation of Guinea was in shock from a vicious massacre of democracy advocates by the latest military junta to take power. So it seems nearly miraculous that the junta's current leaders have stepped back and allowed a civilian member of the opposition to serve as prime minister.

Guinea, which has never known democracy, is hopeful now that truly free elections will take place under Jean-Marie Doré, an opposition leader who was himself beaten bloody in the notorious September 28 massacre that left 150 demonstrators dead and 100 women raped or sexually abused. Guinea, which borders Sierra Leone and Liberia, gained independence in 1958 under the leadership of Sekou Touré and has been led by a succession of military regimes. The full story is in the New York Times.

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