Fox News
March 30, 2011

Will Libya Hurt Obama's Re-Election Chances?

Guests: Juan Williams, Fox News contributor and Stuart Varney, Fox Business Network

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 30, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: "The Anointed One's" epic fall from grace continues tonight as the Obama White House struggles to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Now concerns over America's economic situation and fears over the growing crisis in the Mideast have now pushed President Barack Obama's approval rating to an all-time low. Now according to a brand-new Quinnipiac University poll, voters now disapprove of the job that the president is doing, 48 to 42 percent.

And with his support across the political spectrum crumbling, there is no question that 2012 is officially in play for the Republican Party. Now take a look at this. Fifty percent of those polled say the president does not deserve a second term, and that nine-point gap is the largest it has been since he took office in January of 2009. Additionally, if the election were held today, an unnamed Republican challenger would defeat our incumbent president by one percentage point.

But what's even more alarming is that more Americans disapprove than approve of the president's handling of the following situations -- Libya, the budget and deficit, the economy, foreign policy in general, health care, Afghanistan and energy. And keep in mind that is every single individual issue that was included in this particular poll.

And here to help break down all of these numbers, Fox News political analyst Juan Williams, the host of "Varney and Company" on the Fox Business Network, Stuart Varney. Guys, good to see you.

STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS: Good to be with you.

HANNITY: Appreciate you being here. All right, well, Juan, not looking good poll-wise for the president.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I don't understand sometimes how you put numbers together. This is the most ridiculous thing I ever saw.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: This is the lowest -- Quinnipiac has the lowest numbers of any poll. Fox News/Dynamic has him up 47 to 49...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... Rasmussen has him down.

WILLIAMS: Ras -- OK, so you got to -- you want to go to the bottom...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: You want to keep going?

WILLIAMS: ... in order to distort the story...

HANNITY: The very bottom.

WILLIAMS: ... and make it fit your Obama-bashing agenda.

HANNITY: Hang on!

WILLIAMS: Let me tell you something -- you hang on! RealClearPolitics -- what is the average of Obama's approval? Forty-seven percent.

HANNITY: Oh!

WILLIAMS: That puts him above Ronald Reagan at this point in Reagan's term, puts him above Bill Clinton.

HANNITY: Hey, Juan, I loved Ronald Reagan.

WILLIAMS: Did they get second terms?

HANNITY: I followed Ronald Reagan. He's no Ronald Reagan Reagan.

WILLIAMS: Oh -- oh, that -- you just don't want to talk about the numbers because the numbers...

HANNITY: Look...

WILLIAMS: ... show a different story.

HANNITY: ... on every issue, Mr. Varney...

VARNEY: Thank you.

HANNITY: Yes, sir?

VARNEY: Can I get a word in edgewise (INAUDIBLE)

HANNITY: Yes, you can, sir.

WILLIAMS: Any time.

VARNEY: Thank you very much indeed!

(LAUGHTER)

VARNEY: Face reality, Juan. Face reality, please. This administration has a terrible case of policy paralysis and zero leadership and no solutions to the grave problems we face! Let me just go through the list for one second, and then you can understand the numbers that you're facing here. Energy at $4 dollar gas. The president makes a speech today, does nothing about this problem in the immediate future! The budget and the debt -- the president's budget adds $7 trillion to the debt! And he's sniping, playing political games from the sidelines! He's not leading!

Health care -- yes, there is a policy, and it is unraveling and it's going to bankrupt the country! And four, housing -- we're heading for another dip down. The president's policy has totally failed! There is an absence of leadership, and that's why you've got the numbers. Face reality, Juan.

WILLIAMS: Here it is, Stuart. If you ask the American people, is the country is headed on the right track or the wrong track, it's 60 percent who say wrong track. But you know what? When it was President Bush, it was 80 percent, Stuart. So if you're talking about something like gas prices, most Americans realize we've got an unstable situation in the Middle East. They don't blame President Obama.

HANNITY: Yes, they do.

WILLIAMS: No, they don't.

VARNEY: Sixty percent on the wrong track is still 60 percent on the wrong track...

WILLIAMS: Correct, but they're not...

VARNEY: ... two years in!

WILLIAMS: But you know what -- Sean Hannity a minute ago said, oh, the 2012 election is now open. He can be defeated.

HANNITY: It is. I believe that!

WILLIAMS: In fact, there is not one Republican -- let me repeat, not one Republican -- who is running for office right now as a prospective candidate who can defeat Barack Obama...

HANNITY: I believe...

WILLIAMS: ... not one in any poll shows...

HANNITY: Juan -- Juan...

WILLIAMS: ... himself beating Obama!

HANNITY: I am telling you, Barack Obama is going to lose. He's going to be a one-term president, and I'll put any amount of money on it.

Now, let me give you -- here we're facing on April 8th the potential of a government shutdown. Now, we got a little insight -- and I've been saying this for a long time purposely and repeating it purposely because I want you to know what the Democratic strategy is. Chuck Schumer confirmed it. Basically, it's going to be Republicans are extreme, they're part of the Tea Party, they want old people to die and if those old people live, they've got to eat dog food and cat food. Here's Schumer.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: The only way we can avoid a shutdown is for Boehner to come up with a reasonable compromise and not just listen to what the Tea Party wants because the Tea Party wants to stick to HR-1 with its draconian extreme -- I always use the word "extreme." That's what the caucus instructed me to do the other week -- extreme cuts and all these riders. And Boehner's in a box. But if he supports the Tea Party, there's going to inevitably be a shutdown.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, now, Chuckie didn't know the reporters were listening. Here's Howard Dean, former DNC chair, rooting for a government shutdown for political purposes while the country is under debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIR: From a partisan point of view, I think it'd be the best thing in the world to have a shutdown. All these Tea Party people, half of them are dependent on Social Security and Medicare and all these other things, and when those checks stop coming, believe me, their constituency's going to go even lower than it has been after the fiasco in Wisconsin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you -- you would like a shutdown?

DEAN: Well, I wouldn't like a shutdown from a statesmanlike point of view, but if I was the head of the DNC, I'd be quietly rooting for it.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: Because I know who's going to get blamed. We've been down this road before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARNEY: Look, we are facing a grave financial crisis, and our political leadership on the Democrat side is playing cheap political games!

WILLIAMS: And on the Republican...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Hang on a second!

VARNEY: It's your fault! You're to blame!

WILLIAMS: On the Republican...

HANNITY: And they do absolutely nothing! And they are the ones -- sir, they are the ones who are partially responsible for the mess that we're in. Yes, the stimulus plan, a trillion dollars...

WILLIAMS: Stuart...

VARNEY: ... two record-setting budgets, endless spending! That's why we've got a deficit of $1.6 trillion!

WILLIAMS: Stuart, you're too serious to be making this case. You know well, that there was, in fact, a surplus when Republican President George W. Bush came to office. And you know, secondly...

VARNEY: Deal with it now.

WILLIAMS: You know, secondly, that Republicans are playing politics. The Tea Party right now is threatening John Boehner, threatening Eric Cantor. They've got to go along. They can't act reasonably...

HANNITY: They made promises!

WILLIAMS: ... in terms of making...

HANNITY: All right, wait, wait, whoa, whoa!

WILLIAMS: ... and there's...

HANNITY: Let me...

WILLIAMS: Wait, wait, wait! Let me make one point to you. Where are Republicans -- where are Republicans in talking about the major cuts that are necessary if we are to put this budget...

(CROSSTALK)

VARNEY: Let me answer you, Paul Ryan.

WILLIAMS: ... in balance?

VARNEY: Paul Ryan!

WILLIAMS: They're not doing it in terms of the continuing resolution.

HANNITY: Let me -- let me finish. We're going to have those coming because this is last year's budget because the Democrats...

WILLIAMS: Right.

HANNITY: ... failed to pass a budget when they had control of everything. All right. That's point number one. Point number two -- Juan, the budget is $3.7 trillion.

WILLIAMS: Right.

HANNITY: The deficit's $1.65 trillion. The cuts the Republicans are asking for are $61 billion. Take a pebble, throw it in ocean, there's no impact!

WILLIAMS: They are asking for cuts in a very narrow slice of the budget because they're not talking about the big entitlement spending that is really weighing...

HANNITY: That's coming in three weeks!

WILLIAMS: ... the country. OK, so that's...

HANNITY: Three weeks!

WILLIAMS: ... why -- that's why, in fact, Boehner and the Democrats have been saying, let's have those discussions...

HANNITY: All right, that's an excuse.

WILLIAMS: ... in terms of the 2012 budget.

HANNITY: Stuart...

WILLIAMS: That's not an excuse!

HANNITY: Obama punted. Now he's waiting for political reasons because he doesn't show any leadership!

VARNEY: He does not understand the gravity of our financial situation. We have to borrow $1.65 trillion dollars this year. That's an astronomical amount of money. We're relying on people to lend us that kind of money! And this week, they started to show signs of, we're not quite sure...

WILLIAMS: There we go!

VARNEY: ... we want to lend you this much.

WILLIAMS: What do I hear? It's the siren call of Cassandra! You are just the biggest pessimist!

VARNEY: No, I'm not!

WILLIAMS: Because you know why? Because Wall Street today is doing great. America's corporations have the highest levels of profit in history. And you are going to sit here and tell me, oh, the sky is falling, Juan! The sky is falling!

VARNEY: Juan, you're on my turf right now. Let me explain something to you.

WILLIAMS: Yes, go right ahead.

VARNEY: Interest rates are rising because we're trying to borrow so much money, and that will do in the economy! And I don't think this president and certainly not Mr. Schumer, who should understand what's going on -- they don't understand what's going on.

WILLIAMS: Everybody understands...

VARNEY: They are playing political games.

WILLIAMS: They understand -- that's why they understand, to come back to your point about these continuing resolutions, which are a farce -- you know what? Republicans should understand...

HANNITY: Hey, Juan --

WILLIAMS: ... that if you cause state and local government to collapse in this country, it's...

HANNITY: Hey, Juan?

WILLIAMS: ... hurt, retard our recovery...

HANNITY: Juan? Juan?

WILLIAMS: ... and hurt our ability to go forward.

VARNEY: Juan, way off point.

HANNITY: On the one hand, you're saying we've got to have entitlement cuts. On the other hand, you're saying $61 one billion is extreme.

WILLIAMS: No, because -- because you're only cutting in terms of discretionary domestic spending and...

HANNITY: You can't have it both ways, Juan!

WILLIAMS: Yes, you can! We're talking -- there are two things...

HANNITY: No, you cannot!

WILLIAMS: We're on two tracks. We're on the continuing resolution track...

HANNITY: They're not doing enough, they're doing too much. Is that...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: I want to give you your one point. President Obama...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: ... is not showing the leadership, and he needs to show leadership on this...

HANNITY: Yes, and he blew it.

VARNEY: Are you done?

WILLIAMS: Not yet.

VARNEY: Are you done?

WILLIAMS: The Republicans have blown it.

HANNITY: Up next...

VARNEY: It's $1.6 trillion...

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