Interviews

Is President Obama Losing Mainstream Americans?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: Now for the top story tonight: President Obama sent a message to liberal activists at one of their conventions in Las Vegas this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Change hasn't come fast enough for too many Americans. I know that. It hasn't come fast enough for me either. And I know it hasn't come fast enough for many of you who fought so hard during the election. What I'm asking you is to keep making your voices heard, to keep holding me accountable, to keep up the fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Joining us now from Washington is Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst.

So, Brit, first of all, you can tell me where I went wrong on the "Talking Points Memo." Did I capture what's going on in the country? Am I being too harsh on the president? Take a swing at it.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, so the resistance to this president and his policies has been growing. It was a subset of the American electorate in the beginning, which was -- which didn't like his -- the liberalism it detected, which they thought was too far to the left to suit them. This is, after all, still a center-right country.

But the results of his policies are what has really made the difference, Laura, and the unemployment rate is the key figure here. It remains persistently high, and as long as that was the case, he was destined to lose more and more public support, and that's exactly what's happened. And so he's now in a situation where his policies have not really been strong enough medicine to please his left. And the right and center are alienated by their results as well. And he's in a, politically, in a very bad spot, indeed.

INGRAHAM: Well, I want to get to the Netroots speech he gave via video in a second. But, Brit, he's losing support among pretty much everyone, including some in his own party. Young people are leaving him. Independents in droves are leaving him. White voters, we already know that story. Even Latino support has eroded a little bit. So now he moves on to the Netroots convention, and he addresses the left-wing activists who are kind of getting restless a little bit on the edges. But yet, that is going to simply alienate the very people he needs to bring back in, which are those independents, isn't it?

HUME: Well, you know, it's not clear to me how many people are going to be alienated by the fact that he spoke to them and by the things that he said to them. The people who were going to be alienated by his appeal to the left will be -- are going to be alienated, if they haven't already been, by the policies that the left has desired from President Obama and which in considerable measure he's tried to deliver them. And those people, I think, started to get turned off as, I mentioned early on. That was the birth of the Tea Party movement, really was the spending involved in the bailouts, which were not popular when President Bush started them. They remained unpopular when President Obama continued them. And on top of that, you had the massive stimulus bill, which was promised was going to restrain the unemployment rate, which it has manifestly failed to do, at least not at the levels that were promised. So, you know, you put together the policies that were a little bit too far to the left for the country with results that were appealing to nobody, and this is what you get.

INGRAHAM: Well, Brit, yet, he continues to go back and hit the campaign trail, which is basically what he's doing this week in Detroit and in New Jersey. And it seems like someone in the White House is saying, look, you need to be with your people. You need to talk to them. You need to go on "The View." You need to get in front of the people more and sell your successes.

But in the end, as you said, it's the results. If we have joblessness where it is, if we have public confidence where it is, if we have the sense that America is in kind of a permanent state of decline, as is developing, then no amount of shirt sleeves campaign appearances is really going to change that, right? I mean, you've got to deliver eventually.

HUME: I agree with that. I think that results are always the critical factor in any president's popularity. Ultimately, it's the results that count. But if you're a political adviser to the president, or the president himself, looking for somewhere to start to try to help make matters better, the first thing you might want to do would be to try to stir up some interest in the part of your base.

The enthusiasm of this president's base and the Democratic Party broadly speaking was a tremendous asset to Barack Obama in 2008. That element -- that political element was far more enthusiastic than with the elements that were supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin, despite the fact that Sarah Palin did have a galvanizing effect on a major part of the Republican electorate. The president is simply trying to restore some of that enthusiasm, and that's why you see him at the Netroots convention. That's why you see him out touting the achievements that he has made in the area of health care and certain other areas where he has accomplished some liberal things for liberal causes. You know, I don't know that it's going to work or make that much difference in the end…

INGRAHAM: Yes.

HUME: …but it's probably from his point of view worth trying.

INGRAHAM: I should say that the straw poll, Brit, of the Netroots folks, 87 percent of them generally support the job the president is doing. That's pretty strong, obviously. But only 32 percent say they strongly support what he's doing.

HUME: There you go.

INGRAHAM: And I think that could very well go to the enthusiasm gap that you pointed out.

HUME: Exactly right. That simplifies the problem perfectly. They all still support him, but their enthusiasm for him has diminished, which translates in normal political circumstances into a weaker turnout election. And that is the last thing this president and his party need in this midterm.

The people who support the right, the people who support -- who are angry at President Obama on the right and in the center are highly motivated to vote. The president needs his people to be highly motivated to vote as well. And that Netroots poll gives you a sense of just how many of them are not.

INGRAHAM: Brit, one other point before we let you go. I think there was also a massive miscalculation a year ago about the Tea Party movement. You remember it was kind of a fringe movement? They were very angry, and this -- but this isn't going to last. You can't keep up this emotion for this long. I mean, that was the refrain we heard pretty much everywhere.

I've been in 15 cities in the last, you know, two weeks, basically. And the enthusiasm, the energy, a lot of Tea Party folks showing up in Memphis and Birmingham, New Orleans, these people are not losing their enthusiasm for their kind of change at all.

HUME: Well, that's, Laura, I always thought of the Tea Party movement, whatever its fate, was a token, a sign of intensity in the resistance to President Obama. And nothing that has happened since then has changed my mind about that. I think that's clearly what it is. If the unemployment rate had dropped sharply and times were better, the Tea Party movement might have petered out, but it didn't and the movement hasn't.

INGRAHAM: Brit, great to see you. Thanks a lot.

HUME: Thanks, Laura.

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