Power Play

Obama Shoots Air Balls From Outside

“Well, America, we’ve made it through the worst of yesterday’s winds. We just have to have the courage to keep moving forward. We've got to set our eyes on the horizon. We will find an ocean of tomorrows. We will find a sky of tomorrows for the American people and for this great country that we love.”

-- President Obama, in a reference to the poetry of Carl Sandberg

President Obama took the unusual step of actually starting his own countdown clock, reminding his audience Wednesday that he had only 1,276 days remaining in office.

And based on the latest polling, independent voters are prepared to wait it out.

The new FOX News poll tells the troubling tale for the president: His job approval rating among independent voters has fallen to 25 percent. That’s not only his lowest ever, down 20 points from a year ago, but almost 20 points below George W. Bush’s rating at this point in his second term.

Not good.

The president is hitting the trail again today in a midsummer push to build support for his economic policies ahead of the coming clash with House Republicans over debt, spending and the opening of the new federal entitlement program that bears his name, Obamacare.

While the White House holds that this is about engaging Americans to help pressure Congress – the outside-in game. But it looks more like he’s really talking to Washington. He’s scolding the press for their story selection, scourging Republicans for what he deems their dispatriotic opposition to his policies and generally shaming Washington for its focus on what he deems unworthy.

This is inside-out politics. The president is looking for a better backdrop than the Rose Garden to lay down his markers.

If Obama wanted to rally Americans behind him, he might be talking about what seems to trouble them most. It’s not a lack of solar energy or port modernization. Obama’s health law, soon to kick into the big spending phase, is 13 points underwater in the latest FOX News and Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls and 18 points underwater in the new CBS news polls.


If Obama wanted to rally public support, he could be out talking about his plans to fix what’s broken – to improve his unpopular health law, to continue the push for an immigration overhaul, to repair a badly broken IRS, to improve protections from the NSA – any initiative that would suggest he is a reformer. Instead, he spent more than an hour in Galesburg, Ill. talking about a “sky of tomorrows.”

This is not a time when Americans, having watched failure, dysfunction and corruption in Washington, are in the mood for big dreams. They’re in the mood for big fixes.

Obama is running out of town and picking up a bullhorn to chide Washington for what he thinks is unworthy about the city. Obama has repeatedly said that the lesson he learned from his first term is that you can’t change Washington from the inside. Well, you can’t change it from the outside either if you don’t rally the nation to your cause.

The White House can be happy that Obama’s speaking tour has achieved part of its aim to force people to talk about something other than the failures of his administration and the anticipated failures of his health law. But that’s slim solace when the distraction comes in the form of near-unified disdain for his effort. It’s getting down to where it’s going to be just Obama, Jay Carney and E.J. Dionne who think the answer is more speechifying.

Obama started his own countdown calendar on Wednesday, and as each page turns, his vitality will be further reduced. Reminding Americans how unlikely he is to deliver a “sky of tomorrows” is not likely to enhance his chances in the battles to come.

And Now, A Word From Charles

“Our ambassador spoke out against these demonstrations, which were the largest demonstrations in the history of Egypt.  Perhaps it happened under Ramses II against Sphinx building, I'm not sure.  But you had the whole country rising up saying we don't want the Brotherhood. The only hope for a good outcome in Egypt is supporting the interim government.  And what does the administration do?  Send a signal it's not happy, send a signal that the Brotherhood will read as a measure of support. Stupid mistake.”

-- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com. Catch Chris Live online daily at 11:30amET  at  http:live.foxnews.com.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.