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This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 13, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: Hi, everyone. I'm Laura Ingraham in for Bill O'Reilly. No "Talking Points" memo tonight because we want to get right to the "Top Story".
President Obama's sinking poll numbers. According to a brand new "New York Times" CBS poll, just 41 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing, while 47 percent disapprove. Now just one month ago the numbers told an entirely different story when his approval rating was at 50 percent.
Even worse news for the President are his approval ratings on the economy. Just 39 percent approve of his handling of the economy; 54 percent disapprove.
So what's behind the President's recent struggles in the polls? Let's turn to our "Barack and Hard Place" duo Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes who join us from New York. Great to see both of you.
MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Hi, Laura.
INGRAHAM: And Alan, look, a month ago I remember some of our friends on the left maybe on a different cable network, where they were very ebullient over the President's poll numbers and indeed he had something of an uptick and spent a lot of time talking about it. This is kind of the path to re-election. He's back, the economy is back. What's going on here?
ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I don't think anybody can say it's back or that we can take for granted what's going to happen in November. But there's a lot of fluctuation and there is going to be a lot of fluctuation between now and November.
But let me give you some other numbers which I think are interesting. For example a "National Journal" poll finds that 44 percent trust President Obama to make the decisions that bring down the price of gas as opposed to 32 percent of Republicans; 50 percent of them trust Obama do to things to help the energy issue with alternative energy compared to 42 percent of the Republicans.
So, if we look into the issues a little more deeply he actually does very well. The "Real Clear Politics" rolling averages show that Obama beats just about every potential candidate, particularly Mitt Romney.
COLMES: So I mean, I certainly wouldn't get too concerned about what we know which way the election is going to go based on this number from the CBS poll you cite.
INGRAHAM: Monica, look the... there have been a number of polls that have come out. It's not just one poll. There was "The Washington Post/ABC" poll. Rasmussen had a poll yesterday all showing a bit of a downturn and among Independents, "The Washington Post/ABC" poll showed a stark drop for the President on the issue of handling the economy which is still the number one issue.
CROWLEY: Yes, 57 percent of Independents who are likely going to decide this election disapprove of his overall job performance; even more than that disapproved of his handling of the economy.
Another poll, Laura, that you didn't cite came out last week, in Gallup 50 percent of the American people, half of the American people polled thought that this President has been a quote "failure". So look, anything can happen between now and Election Day. We all know that.
But this President certainly is very vulnerable. He's got an uphill battle. And all of the polls that we're citing, I think are a direct function of a couple of things. Obviously the economy, stubbornly high unemployment, very high gas prices hurting every American regardless of whether or not you drive.
Anemic economic growth but there's one other thing, you mentioned this earlier. You were covering it yesterday. We've been covering it on Fox News for the last couple of weeks.
The Sandra Fluke controversy, I now think that most of the American people have looked at the left's orchestration and manipulation of Occupy Wall Street and then the left's orchestration and manipulation of this whole contraception issue and now most of the American people are actually on to the left.
CROWLEY: They're on to the White House. They're on to the Democratic Party and they're saying you know what we have serious issues in this country and this is how the left is spending their time trying to manipulate us and we're over it.
COLMES: It's the right...
INGRAHAM: Alan what of that? What of that? Because look, the numbers... the numbers among women voters also have declined for the President in this poll. Now he still leads a little bit but the decline was documented in the "New York Times" today.
COLMES: I think he will continue to lead. The fact that you see birth control as an issue, contraception as an issue isn't because of the left or whatever perceived...
INGRAHAM: But because of the media.
COLMES: ...perceived manipulation. It's because people like Rick Santorum continue to talk about it in their speeches. The right has made it an issue. It's become a bigger issue because of the Limbaugh debacle and it's really... in the long run hurting Republicans. This isn't bad for Democrats. This is actually helping them.
INGRAHAM: Right Alan do you... Alan do you actually believe that when people are seeing gas prices, there's a... there's a "Weekly Standard" has like a $4.53 picture up on their Web site now and people will see that. Do you think women voters are going to say oh my gosh, my partner and I, my husband and I can't buy condoms. And we can't buy... we can't buy birth control pills that are $9.99 at Wal-Mart. Do you really think they rate that in the top five issues they think in their families today? Really?
COLMES: I think... I think there's a general perception that there's a war on women going on from the right.
CROWLEY: Oh come on.
COLMES: And that's really the issue. And we're still arguing and saying these horrible things and calling women these terrible names. And in terms of gas prices let's be...
INGRAHAM: How was that a national issue? How was that a national issue?
COLMES: Well, you got people like Rick Santorum and the Republicans talking about it...
INGRAHAM: Calling women horrible names?
COLMES: No, talking about birth control and contraception as an issue.
INGRAHAM: He's being asked about it constantly.
COLMES: He actually gives speeches when he introduces the topic. And also we have to understand...
INGRAHAM: Yes, how long ago?
COLMES: ...the President does not set gas prices. People realizes it's the speculators, it's instability of the Middle East, the President and any more than George W. Bush did, which Republicans would say back then Bush doesn't set gas prices. Well, they are right.
INGRAHAM: Monica I think Alan... Alan is right to this extent. There are a lot of factors that go into this gas prices issue. Speculators, they affect about 15 percent of the uptick or the downtick, sometimes, in gas prices.
But nevertheless, I think there is a concern that the administration is doing a lot of this stuff like the Sandra Fluke calls and they are doing "Let's Move" and they are doing cool campaign stops with celebrities.
But when it comes to an oil and gas policy that makes sense for people, I don't think that's... that's working with the voters.
INGRAHAM: I'm trying to look at this not as a conservative but as, you know, person out there who is trying to fill up his tank or her tank every week and... and like maybe it's not all his fault but he can do a little bit more here.
CROWLEY: Well and over the last couple of years, Laura, he's actually taken deliberate steps to get us to this place right now. He has blocked drilling. He has blocked exploration. He has slow walked permitting and of course, recently he blocked the Keystone Pipeline. That's why people are holding him accountable.
Look presidents get the bulk of the criticism on the economy, gas prices, even when they don't deserve it and they get the credit when they don't deserve it. But in this case because Obama has spent years waging a real war on fossil fuels and the oil and the natural gas industry, that's why most of the American people are going you know what; why am I paying $4 dollars a gallon?
You know what somebody who works in my building in New York a maintenance guy nice as he can be Laura said to me the other day, these gas prices are killing me I can't even afford to make ends meet every week anymore.
INGRAHAM: All right.
CROWLEY: The American people are really hurting and they are holding the President accountable as they should.
COLMES: He actually expanded drilling though. He's not reduced drilling. He's actually expanding the drilling.
INGRAHAM: Permitting has been a disaster.
CROWLEY: No, in public lands, no.
COLMES: He's expanded drilling in general. There's more drilling going on now than in the Bush administration.
INGRAHAM: Actually, Alan if you look closely at the latest White House picture there is a drilling rig right on the front lawn of the White House.
COLMES: Yes, that's right.
CROWLEY: That would actually help him, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Yes, that would help. Monica and Alan great to see you both.
COLMES: Thank you.
CROWLEY: You too thanks.
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