Recycled rhetoric: Is the administration running on empty?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 17, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: So, with the president struggling in the polls, he rushed to the podium today in an attempt to divert attention away from the key issues of the day. And to do so, he decided to unload on one of his favorite punching bags, and that, of course, big oil companies. Let's take a look.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: We can't afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage and driving prices higher only to flip oil for a quick profit. We can't afford the situation where some speculators can reap millions while millions of American families get the short end of the stick.


HANNITY: But as you are about to see, this is not the first time the president has promised to do something and not followed through. Particularly on oil speculation. Let's look at this.


OBAMA, JULY 31, 2008: We also need to crack down on speculators who manipulate the market.

Crack down on speculators right now to help bring down gas prices.

OBAMA, NOV. 4, 2009: We had an energy situation where suddenly oil producers or speculators want to constrict supply.

OBAMA, APRIL 21, 2008: Route out any cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices. That includes the rule of traders and speculators.

OBAMA, MARCH 1, 2009: Making sure speculators aren't taking advantage of what's going on in the oil markets.


It sounds like more recycled rhetoric from an administration that is running on empty.

Joining me now with analysis to the president's attempt to divert attention away of the key issues of the day, the author of The New York Times bestseller "Courage and Consequence," we call him the architect, Karl Rove.

All right. This is one example. Now, the RNC, I think everybody understands that, all right, the game has begun. It's going to be Romney, 99 percent versus President Obama. The RNC has come out I think with a pretty effective ad and it talks about Obama blaming everybody but himself. Watch this.


OBAMA: Yes, I'm not going to make any excuses. I'm not going to make any excuses.

GRAPHIC: Promise: No excuses.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.

OBAMA: I will be held accountable.

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, "TODAY": You know how quickly how people --

OBAMA: That's exactly right.

GRAPHIC: "No more excuses?" Four years later, still blaming the recession.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We're not there.

OBAMA: Well, we're not there because this recession turned out to be a lot deeper than any of us realized.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.

GRAPHIC: From 'hope' to hypocrisy.

OBAMA: I came in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

GRAPHIC: 827 days in office: Still blaming the recession.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.

OBAMA: The worst recession since the Great Depression.

GRAPHIC: August 2011: Did I mention the recession?

OBAMA: There were some things that we could not control. We've had a string of bad luck.

GRAPHIC: Also, "bad luck."

OBAMA: An earthquake in Japan.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.

OBAMA: An Arab spring in the Middle East.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.

OBAMA: Economic head winds coming from Europe.

OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.

OBAMA: The uncertainty surrounding the raising of the debt ceiling.

OBAMA: Because of automation.

OBAMA: Because of globalization.

GRAPHIC: 624,000 manufacturing jobs lost under President Obama.

OBAMA: Part of the reason that manufacturing has declined is because of automation.

GRAPHIC: And the president's pointing fingers. Took credit for Solyndra. Now blaming others.

OBAMA: But understand, this was not our program per se.

GRAPHIC: 4th year in office: 8.2 percent unemployment. The president blames ATM machines.

OBAMA: We used to go to the bank teller. Now you go to an ATM machine.


OBAMA: I'm not going to make any excuses.


OBAMA: We didn't create the deficit. We haven't solved it fully yet.


OBAMA: If stuff hasn't worked, and people don't feel like I have led the country in right direction --


OBAMA: I don't think they're better off than they were four years ago.


OBAMA: Then you'll have a new president.

GRAPHIC: Interesting suggestion...


HANNITY: They forgot the kiosks, they forgot shovel-ready jobs, Karl. But they had almost everything else.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: They got almost everything else. They forgot you.

HANNITY: That's true. And you.

ROVE: Me, yes, exactly. This is why the president is seen as weak. I mean, the president has adopted their philosophy that if anything goes wrong it's somebody else's responsibility. Presidents become bigger and stronger in the minds of the American people when they take responsibility on themselves. They become weaker and smaller when they are constantly pointing the finger and blaming somebody else.

HANNITY: Yes. All right. So, let's look at some of the poll numbers. Gallup tracking came out yesterday, started to track for this election. Had Romney up by three. Today they have him up by five. Fox News has him up by two. And there's one other poll that has -- Rasmussen has him up by I think two or three points as well. So, at this point in the presidency, if you look at the past elections, what I went back to look and looked at, what I found is there has been no president that has had this position in the polls and come back and win the election. Can we learn from history or is this a whole new paradigm?

ROVE: Well, look, every election is different. I will say this. I'm surprised that Romney is in as good of shape as he appears in these polls. Because he -- we're at the tail end of an ugly divisive primary that is not ennobled anybody. I mean, this has not made him look better. And yet, he is in a good position to fight this out.

If you take a look at the Real Clear Politics average of all the polls since April 5th, Obama leads by three. If you look at the polls since April 11th, when essentially the contest ended, it's Obama by a point-and-a-half. In fact, it's essentially Romney ahead if you take out one poll that gives Obama a pretty significant lead. Otherwise, Romney is ahead if you average everything from the 11th.

So, there's going to be a competitive race. Very tight, very close. It's not where the Obama people want to be. And it's where Romney is surprisingly, and I suspect happy to be. But if you saw Axelrod on Sunday with Chris Wallace, that was not a happy camper. That was not a confident, calm, political leader. That was a guy who scared to death that his candidate is going to go down to defeat and flailing around badly.

HANNITY: Yes, I got the same impression as well. And one of those polls that you are including is the ABC/Washington Post poll. In that poll, they had 11 percent more Democrats that they sample than Republicans.

ROVE: Sure.

HANNITY: Which, you know, I think that is certainly an outlier based on the demographics. All right, so the president's strategy is he can't run on his record. So he is going to go out there and attack. It seems like every time he immerses himself the war on women is backfired, Sandra Fluke has backfired. You know, all the attacks that the president has been making, they don't seem to be working. So, where do they go from there?

ROVE: Well, look, they are going to keep it up. Because look, one thing is they don't get called by the media. The president can go out -- went out on Saturday for example, he gave us at least his third explanation why he needed the Buffet Rule. And he said, it's because we need it for growth. Oh, really? The billion dollars we're going to get from the Buffett Rule in additional tax revenue this year is going to somehow create growth? By taking and taxing savings and investment more that is going to somehow create growth?

I thought we had this bipartisan consensus that we've had for decades that we need to tax investment and tax savings less in order to encourage them. Because that is what drives the economic growth. And on Saturday, he comes out and says, well, we need growth, and we need investments but what we really, he was saying, was we need more government revenue for the government to spend. And nobody calls him in the media on this kind of stuff.

So, you're got to keep doing it. There is no ifs ands or buts about it. But again, it's not working particularly well.

HANNITY: We'll going to continue to vet the president. Tonight, we're going to look at his very generous vacation schedule.

You know, one of the things that I find fascinating here is that -- and it's not come up as an issue. As you've got every American, families of four that make $50,000 each as of January 1, if Congress doesn't act, the president doesn't act, the average family that makes $50,000 a year, their taxes go up on average, $1,750 a year.

ROVE: Right.

HANNITY: A lot of money.

ROVE: Yes. And let's not forget -- yes, it's a lot. And look, let's also not forget President Obama broke his pledge that he would not to tax people who make less than $250,000 that a year. There are half a trillion dollar worth of tax increases in ObamaCare alone and they fall on people who go to a hospital because they need a procedure. People who need yet drugs to manage their disease. And people who buy health insurance policy and people who need medical device. You know, there are a lot of people making less than $250,000 a year that fall in the category. And he's got a half a trillion dollars worth of taxes on them.

HANNITY: Karl Rove, always good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

ROVE: Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me.

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