Left, Right Unite in Criticism of Obama?

Media turn on president following credit rating downgrade


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," August 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: President Obama is facing harsh criticism today and on experience, I know that negative coverage can come in waves, that's often happens when you're in the White House. We have a story, you need to let it burn out. And some of this coverage would make a former press secretary want to crawl into the fetal position under the desk.

One of the things I wanted to point out was even The New York Times said today in an editorial that "anyone hungering for a robust vision to invigorate the economy and increase employment is still hungry."

What's interesting to me, Andrea, is that it's not based -- the criticism is not based on a single incident. It is more about his leadership style in general.

Do you think they have a problem or will this pass away?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Yes, I think they have a serious problem. And I think if you look at his tenure, there have been instances where you see his leadership questioned -- but never so collectively and never such a consensus from the right and the left.

I mean, The Wall Street Journal sums it up today beautifully. "Then there is Mr. Obama as a political tactician. He makes predictions that proved false. He makes promises that he can't honor. He raises expectations he can't meet. He reneged on the commitment that he has made in private. He surrenders positions in public. He's absent from issues which he has a duty to be involved. And he's overbearing when he ought to be absent."


TANTAROS: I'm telling you, that is a perfect explanation of what's happening. And the left, a lot of members on the left, agree. One last thing, if you look at what happened with the S&P and you look at their criticism, why they downgraded. They said it because of gridlock. They said it was -- we couldn't service our debt and our budget. We couldn't balance the budget.

And these were three things that Obama promised in 2008. He changed the tone. He'd promised a balanced budget and he promised reforming entitlements.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: First of all, I just want to say how shocked I am that The Wall Street Journal would attack a Barack Obama.

TANTAROS: That's why I like

BECKEL: You give me one time that The Wall Street Journal ever said anything nice about Barack Obama and I'll give you a big bucket of roses. But listen --


BECKEL: Just wait a second, let me say this. All this criticism is about a fraudulent downgrading by a fraudulent organization called Standard & Poor's. Has anybody else stopped to think for a second? No other agency in the world, rating agency, has downgraded the United States except for Standard & Poor's who did a lousy job, with lousy numbers and for a political reason, and I think conspiracy.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, CO-HOST: Is this Groundhog Day? Did we go though these fraudulent --

BECKEL: No! But you can play as if this is a real downgrade. This is from S&P.

PERINO: Well, I thought that --

NAPOLITANO: Half the country relies on that. You are the only one that says fraud. Fraud means they knowingly and intentionally deceive and lie for a selfish reason.


NAPOLITANO: What is it?

BECKEL: All of the above.

NAPOLITANO: What's the selfish reason? What's the lie?

BECKEL: Because I think they would -- I think they're lining up on the Republican side. That's why I think.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Can I just butt in here?

NAPOLITANO: No evidence.

GUTFELD: I want to talk about why you are seeing a lot more criticism from the left. What you are seeing is the consequences of something I call OCAD, which is "Obama Criticism Abstinence Disorder."


GUTFELD: It's what happened when the media has not said anything bad about Obama for two years. Until it's finally built up to a point where they can't hold it back anymore and that's what you're seeing. That's why you see The Washington Post and The New York Times explode because abstinence, sooner of later, it happens.

NAPOLITANO: One of the interesting things that Andrea read from The Wall Street Journal piece, I think by Bret Stephens.

TANTAROS: Yes, that's right.

NAPOLITANO: Who's by the way going to be on "Freedom Watch" tonight at 8 Eastern on Fox Business Network.

GUTFELD: Nice plug.

NAPOLITANO: Bob will be watching.


NAPOLITANO: One of the more interesting things was and he's overbearing. I think he is the opposite. I think he's under-whelming.

I think he's showing no leadership skills. I think he refused to jump in to the debt debate. I think he waited three days before he talked about S&P and I think he gave, Obama, one of the poorest speeches of his career during the course of which he seemed timid and ignorant.

BECKEL: I thought -- I thought it was not a good performance at all. I agree with that.

By the way, did you in your opening -- I was hanging on every word. But did we make the point that the market went up. The market went up 430 points today, the Obama rally, after the Fed -- after the Fed said it was going to keep interest rate low for next two years.

PERINO: Let's talk about that for a second, because the Fed did come out today after, thankfully, the market stopped the slide. I don't see how you can get credit for the ups in the markets, but not take the blames for the down.

BECKEL: I don't see how you don't get it in the opening writing by the producers when yesterday, all we did was leave with 600 points down. It's horrible.

NAPOLITANO: Bob, it's not good to attack the producers.


BECKEL: I understand that. But I like to do it because they're sort of fun to hit at.


PERINO: Let's ask Andrea one thing about -- walk people through the Fed announcement today, was that they are going to basically keep the interest rates where they are for the next two years. To me, that's a pessimistic view of what they think is going to happen in the economy. And I don't think we should celebrate that.


BECKEL: Well, the market did.

TANTAROS: Well, yes. But look what's been happening. Fear has been driving this market. And I think that's exactly why they did it.

Look, cash is crawling for any safe place to find itself in any hole. And, look, I got to say, the criticism today of the president, I think, is right on. And I really do think, though, he looks confused about all this.

I think he is looking at himself going -- I did what any good liberal was supposed to do. The intelligentsia told me. I said all the right things and I did all the right things. I was a smart liberal.

And now, I really think that liberals, like Al Norcliffe, and the rest of them, who came out with the scathing editorials are saying we have an existential crisis.


PERINO: Hold on, I want to read this one from Dana Milbank, who believe me --

NAPOLITANO: The former adversary of yours.

PERINO: You know, sometimes, if you knew Dana Milbank was coming to the press briefing, you knew the next morning was not going to be a good one. What he said was -- in a column in The Washington Post, that President Obama, quote, "He delivered his statement on the economy but needs a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, but that was as close as he came to forceful leadership. He looked grim and swallowed hard and frequently, as he mixed fatalism with vague, patriotic exhortations."

And, Judge, that was what I mentioned, yesterday, which is that if you're going to come out and say that our country is still a AAA country, you don't -- you wouldn't think you need to read that.

NAPOLITANO: It looked bad that he read it. I also thought it looked bad that he said it, because that was the type of cheerleader statement one would not expect from the president in middle of the market day who wants to turn the market around. Instead, he caused, precipitated or participated in, Robert Beckel, one of the precipitous declines in history of the country.

BECKEL: Are you kidding me?

NAPOLITANO: I'm going to tell you some good news. The day after we had the tenth worse law in the country, we had the tenth highest rise in the country.

BECKEL: That's right. Can I make one other point?

NAPOLITANO: Because people decided it was time to take profit.


NAPOLITANO: Hang on. (INAUDIBLE). The law of supply and demand worked.

And then Ben Bernanke said, I may keep the interest rates down on a quarter of a percent, far less than what you can get on the free market.

So, keep buying, guys.

BECKEL: OK. And you know what else is being bought, by the way, in the middle -- first of all, one reason that I'm a little surprised that the left is hitting out like this. If they're going to do it, I think Greg is right. It has built up a lot of this very positive writing about Obama.

And I think this is a way to vent on this.

But would one of them, please, all of you, please, say that this is one suspect credit rating, when the rest of the credit ratings are not downgraded? We are not downgraded. But where is all the money in the world stock market going? When they leave the stocks? It's all coming to the U.S. treasuries.


NAPOLITANO: It's going to gold.

BECKEL: And gold. Those two things, gold and U.S. treasuries.

PERINO: I want to ask, Greg, step back. If you are the American people and you've got your dinner getting ready for tonight, do you think that they follow this roller coaster ride on the stock market or do they just throw up their hands?

GUTFELD: It would be like dating a manic depressive. And I think Bob is correct.


GUTFELD: If you're going to yell panic when it plunges, then you are required to yell, hit the parade when it goes up. The problem we don't have memory of goldfish. You know, they erase their minds every 24 hours. You have to remember the context.

But I will say this. The one lesson that you are learning about President Obama is you're learning he finally has an adversary in the Tea Party. And the key difference between -- no, but his is why people are panicking over Obama. Obama is a person without a principle. The party is a principal without a person.

BECKEL: Excuse me. First of all --

GUTFELD: That's what it is.

BECKEL: I dated many manic depressives myself. And you're right.


BECKEL: It is wonderful. When it's down, forget it.

GUTFELD: They became manic depressive after dating you, Bob. You were actual the problem.

BECKEL: You know, that may have been part of the contributing factors. But if I could say this about the last comment you just made --

GUTFELD: It's true. He doesn't have a principle.


BECKEL: Can I just point out that the latest poll show that right now, by two-to-one, the American people reject the Tea Party? By two-to-one.

PERINO: All right. As usual Bob gets the last word.

GUTFELD: But they lack principle.

PERINO: Oh, no, Greg with the last word.

GUTFELD: They like the principle. There is no person that represents them.

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