Charles Krauthammer on Who President Obama Really Is

Columnist says president is finally revealing himself


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 27, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: Charles Krauthammer, a conservative, makes a nice living analyzing politics and is especially locked in on President Obama. Charles now says the president is finally revealing himself fully. Dr. Krauthammer joins us now from Washington. So you think there's a new revelation here?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No, I think what's new is we've returned to the original Obama, the Obama of the first two years before. After the shellacking in the midterm elections, he moved -- he gave the appearance of moving to the center.

Look, the original Obama comes in with a country in terrible debt crisis and what does he do? He adds another trillion-dollar entitlement with health care. He comes in and he tries to get cap-and-trade, federal control of energy. He spends a trillion dollars on a stimulus that achieves practically nothing. This is the original Obama. And he said sort of very early on, he's a social Democrat, somebody who wants to see us more like Europe. He spends a year after losing the midterm election and losing the House pretending he's a centrist, but now with the election rolling around, with no answers on jobs, and no answers on debt, he's decided to get back to what he's comfortable with, and that is to talk about class warfare.

O'REILLY: But that seems to be a losing strategy in the face of all the polls saying that Americans are angry. They're angry that the president's economic policies have not worked. They don't want more left-wing stuff. So it just seems to be almost self-defeating that he would go back into that posture.

KRAUTHAMMER: I would agree with you. But on the other hand, what's he going to run on? His record? On debt? On jobs? On economic expansion...

O'REILLY: He could pull a Bill Clinton, could he not, and pivot into a different area and say, "Look, we tried this, we were sincere. Some of it was good, but we understand now it didn't work so now we're going to try and help small businesses. We're going to try to get out of people's way for a while," and he could do that, could he not?

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, but here is where you get the real Obama. Bill Clinton was by nature, by instinct a centrist Democrat. He was left of center. He was from the DLC, that part of the Democratic Party which was reformist and more centrist. It was natural for Clinton to pivot to the center after he got shellacked.

For Obama, who tried this cloak on for the last eight or nine months, for example, when he signed the extension of the Bush tax cuts in December, it was alien to him. Finally, he decides, "It's not working anyway. My numbers are down. There's no way I can explain what I've done. I'm not going to denounce what I did in the past. I believe in Obamacare. I'm not going to undo it or apologize. I believe in stimulus. I believe in cap-and-trade."

So what's he got left? "I know how to do class war. I was a community organizer. I believe in that stuff. I believe in America consisting of the dispossessed and those and the rich will oppress them. That's who I am. I'm going to be authentic. That will energize the base," and it has. The base just loves this new guy. "And I will hope that somehow I'll draw a weak opponent on the other side, a semi-nutcase, and I'll squeak through to victory."

O'REILLY: OK, but if you say that it's energized the base, and they're coming back, the polls don't reflect that. He's sinking every time there's a new poll. He goes down further in job approval. He goes down further in economic management. Every poll shows that. So while maybe the fringe base, the loud base likes it, clearly the people who are independent and the center-left Democrats don't like him. And I think that he's going to get clobbered if he runs to the left.

KRAUTHAMMER: You've got me in the unnatural position of defending Obama. I'm trying to understand his logic, and his logic is that, "Unless I get the base energized -- we're now 14 months out -- unless I get that, I have nothing. I have no chance."

I expect that by the end -- by the end of the campaign after the summer next year with a few weeks left, he'll try a pivot to the center. But right now he wants to strengthen himself with the special interest groups, particularly the unions, whom he's alienated, and the left as a way to get some source of energy behind him. Will it work? I don't know. I don't think so. But for Obama, it is simply unnatural to pretend to be the kind of centrist that a Clinton was who won re-election in 1996.

O'REILLY: OK. And that's what we said in the "Talking Points Memo." He's trying to put together a coalition, hoping he has numbers in the minority precincts and in the unions and the devoted left to overcome whatever the Republicans…

KRAUTHAMMER: And he's hoping he'll draw a very weak opponent.

O'REILLY: All right, Charles. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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