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Does Obama Deserve Credit for Budget Deal?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight: perception vs. reality. As we told you in the "Talking Points Memo," most Americans believe President Obama should get credit for the big budget deal. That cannot please the Republican Party.

Joining us now from Austin, Texas, with reaction, GOP stalwart Karl Rove. So what about this perception, Mr. Rove?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look. I agree with Brit. This is one poll. It's a poll of adults. The president is probably -- every time you compare a poll of adults to a poll with voters, Obama fares worse among voters. If you do likely voters, he fares even worse. So I agree we ought to wait until we see another poll or two or three.

I would not be surprised if he gains a little bit of an oomph from this because, as you pointed out, the deal was done late on Friday night. People sort of wake up, they see a deal done. They don't know exactly why. And in our system, we tend to give credit to the president. This helped Obama –- this helped Bill Clinton a lot in '95, '96. He was 37 percent of the American people saw him as a strong leader before the budget -- the government shutdown, the government battles back then; afterwards, 53 percent saw him as a strong leader. I don't think Obama will get anywhere near that kind of a lift though because I do think more Americans have been paying a lot of attention to this and particularly interested voters and likely voters are going to say, you know what, this guy was against this deal and I'm not going to give him credit for a deal happening.

O'REILLY: Could it be possible that the Republican Party has not been able to articulate what exactly happened there behind the scenes? I saw Speaker of the House Boehner on Fox News earlier with Hemmer today. With all due respect to the speaker, he really didn't make his case. He was very interested in getting the point across that he worked in a very bipartisan way with President Obama, which is all well and good. I think the speaker has to have a good relationship with the president and vice versa. But he didn't really make his case about how dangerous the spending has become, No. 1, because I think that's the big issue. As I said, it is the defining issue of our time now. It has overridden terrorism because if this economy falls off the cliff -- and it will unless they rein it in, ok -- then all of us are going to be harmed and we just don't know to what degree. But the speaker really was more interested in presenting, well we are going to go down the road and do what we have to do. But he didn't basically say, you know, this president did x, y and z; it was real tough. He didn't want to do that.

ROVE: Well, Bill, I disagree. I think Boehner doesn't need to go out and say how bad it is. He has already won that argument. The American people are with him on it. What he needs to do is continue to put himself in a place where he looks like the reasonable, thoughtful guy who you could relate well to, who shares your values and views, and who's trying to do the right thing for the country. Boehner came off, I think, with -- look, institutionally he has a weak hand. He has one-third of the process. He has got the House. The Democrats have the Senate and the White House, and with the White House they have a much bigger megaphone than he has. And yet, he has bent this and his Republicans in the House have bent this entire battle.

O'REILLY: So what you're saying is he was a gracious winner. He was a gracious winner. You think he won. Hume thinks he won. He was gracious.

ROVE: Yes. And look, we have two bigger battling coming up. Now granted, this was an important one. Incidentally you were right. I hate to correct Brit, but you were right between the omnibus spending bill in December when they cut a bunch out of what the president wanted to add to the budget and today they've cut $78 billion out of the budget, $61 billion in discretionary and $17 billion in mandatory. Second biggest decline in mandatory spending only exceeded by the hit we took.

O'REILLY: All right. But let me make my case before I let you go that you're wrong for disagreeing with me about the Boehner presentation. President Obama got the pop in the CNN poll and you just said he might get a pop in the polls that come out this week because that's what usually happens. Americans, when something goes our way, reward the president. I submit to you that many, many Americans simply do not understand the danger of the Democratic Party, particularly the far-left wing, continuing to promote massive, irresponsible government spending. They don't get it and Boehner isn't selling it. I will give you the last word.

ROVE: First of all, I think the American people understand keenly that we're in desperate political shape and they blame the president. That's why he is getting a 27 percent approval on his handling of the deficit. And Obama loses this thing because in Washington, power goes to where power -- where the victors are, and everybody in Washington, I think most people see this rightly as a big victory for Boehner and a defeat for Obama.

O'REILLY: Certainly in The New York Times case.

ROVE: The president's senior adviser is forced to go on the tube on Sunday and call these spending cuts draconian and historic. How can you call them extreme and hurting the poor people and hurting the folks and on the other hand call them historic? That shows the irrelevance and the discontinuity the president's been…

O'REILLY: Well maybe he is bipolar. I don't know. Mr. Rove, thanks as always. Appreciate it.

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