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Why do Americans think Obama is doing good on the economy?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FNC HOST: Now for the "Top Story" tonight maybe economic guru Lou Dobbs has another reason why voters in Florida, Ohio and Virginia are approving of the way the President is running the economy. And here he is.

LOU DOBBS, FBN ANCHOR: It's great to be with you, Bill.

O'REILLY: So what do you say?

DOBBS: I say that we need to look at a couple of numbers. And as you look at what has happened in particular with food stamps. Romney's famous 47 percent comment has created a great deal of excitement but the reality is there is a touch stone in all of this that is absolutely I think moving this direction right now in President Obama's favor.

When we look at the number of food stamp recipients, when we look -

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: 47 million right now.

DOBBS: 47 million.

O'REILLY: Up from 17 under President Clinton.

DOBBS: Well and they had declined because of welfare reform in large measure under Clinton.

O'REILLY: Right.

DOBBS: If you go back to 1980 and President Carter they were half that and if you take a look at the increase in our population; 88 million people in this country since 1980. One fourth of them would be receiving food stamps. That's incredible. But it is again a statement of the largesse of the federal government that is now being persuasive to obviously a lot of people taking these polls because as you said -- for crying out loud, President Obama is getting higher marks.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: But -- but this is what I understand, all right. Look, everybody understands that there is a segment of the American population that's going to vote Democratic because the Democratic Party is the party of entitlements. We all understand that but that's been in play since Franklin Roosevelt, ok.

DOBBS: For a very long time.

O'REILLY: And in the beginning of this race when Romney secured the nomination it went back and forth. All right, the polls went back and forth and still in the national Rasmussen tracking poll, Obama up just one.

DOBBS: Right.

O'REILLY: But in the key swing states, all right, Governor Romney is losing ground.

DOBBS: He's losing ground.

O'REILLY: And I'm not exactly sure why.

DOBBS: Here are some commonalities in the three principal battleground states right now being examined. We talk about Florida, we talk about Virginia and Ohio.

O'REILLY: Right.

DOBBS: All three interestingly in which President Obama is leading in Ohio dramatically Republican Governors.

O'REILLY: Yes.

DOBBS: And elected as recently as 2010. Rick Scott in Florida is an unpopular governor. John Kasich in Ohio is at best drawing even in the public view of his performance.

O'REILLY: But he's doing a good job.

DOBBS: Well he's done a good job but that isn't being reflected in his poll numbers.

O'REILLY: But why? Look this is what I mean, when you take a poll, when Fox News takes a poll, and the majority of likely voters in those three states --

DOBBS: Right.

O'REILLY: -- say President Obama is doing a good job on the economy, doesn't your head spin around?

DOBBS: It absolutely does.

O'REILLY: How can you just -- if you were a teacher and one of your students raised his hands and said Mr. Dobbs I believe President Obama is doing a hell of a job managing the economy and you would go, why, what do you point to, Seymour, for that -- for that opinion?

DOBBS: Well.

O'REILLY: And I mean what is there to point to, to justify or back that up?

DOBBS: Well, playing the part of Seymour, if I may.

O'REILLY: Sure.

DOBBS: The fact of the matter is that there are some causal relationships at work here. One is as I said in one instance an unpopular governor in Florida. McDonnell who is a -- he is a popular governor but his -- his popularity has dropped dramatically. Kasich is not. We are watching a -- three states in which the state legislature went Republican in 2010.

What's the difference? The difference is I think in part what you suggested. And but it's because of the advertising of the Obama campaign and the ads they are directing into those three battleground states. And they are doing it on the --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: All right, so you think it's the Obama machine.

DOBBS: -- I absolutely do.

O'REILLY: The Obama machine has gone into the states with a tremendous amount of money, has -- has advertised negatively against Romney and you believe that the voters are being swayed --

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: Yes.

O'REILLY: -- to that but that still doesn't answer the question.

DOBBS: But let's add one component.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

DOBBS: And that is intuitively you went to the Internet and the fact is that the Obama campaign is using its money I think intelligently and with great targeting and they've been on the Internet for a year.

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Ok well look, there's no doubt that Axelrod and the boys in Chicago are running a very effective campaign right now but that still doesn't explain why Fox News calls a person in Florida up.

DOBBS: Right.

O'REILLY: Florida which has almost nine percent unemployment, housing market has collapsed.

DOBBS: Right.

O'REILLY: All right, it's chaos everywhere economically and that person goes oh, yes, I think President Obama is doing a good job on the economy. How in God's name can you arrive at that conclusion if you are living in Florida?

DOBBS: You were talking about people being a bit distracted, being sent off as the Romans did to the circus to distract them from the fact that there -- that the barbarians were at the gate. That is precisely what happened.

O'REILLY: You -- so you are agreeing with me.

DOBBS: On that part of it, absolutely.

O'REILLY: You're saying that they are distracted, their -- their trivial pursuits are overriding really important stuff?

DOBBS: That's one way to say it. I would say it this way. The Romney campaign isn't smart enough to break through. They know the issues and they perhaps --

(CROSSTALK)

O'REILLY: Well he has the breakthrough on the debates though.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: I mean, that's his -- that's his chance. That's the Governor's chance. All right, Lou Dobbs everybody, there he is.

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