All-Star Panel: Can President Obama shore up his base?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: For the last few months you have seen a lot of headlines about gridlock and partisan bickering, and too often one faction of one party in one house in Congress has chosen courses of action that end up harming our businesses or our economy or our workers, or they want to refight old political battles rather than create jobs and grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President Obama out West for seven fundraisers. At one of them he said, quote, "I am not a particularly ideological person." This as some new polls are out. CNN/ORC out today, one surprising tally, four in 10 people answering the question, can President Obama manage the government effectively, does not apply, 60 percent, four in 10 said he cannot manage the government effectively. We're back with the panel. Steve, what about this trip and this effort where this administration stands?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think the president launched this trip and is doing this to campaign because he has nothing else to do. He doesn't know what else to do. His policies are collapsing around him, and the president knows how to give a campaign. I think the challenge for him or the difficulty for him, and you saw that, I think, it in the evidence of the clip that we just played, is that even he doesn't believe it anymore. He's going through the motions. He's sort of complaining about Congress, eh, this faction doesn't want to do it, these guys are blocking and everything. But we have seen the president deliver that speech with tremendous passion. He's not even doing that anymore. I think if he doesn't do it, it's going to be hard for him to convince his supporters that he's serious and that he's actually making an argument that he believes.

BAIER: Mara, he was talking immigration today, but as you mentioned, this new poll out, CNN/ORC, he is upside down in honest and trustworthy as well.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: That's a real problem, because all along President Obama, even when his approval ratings bounced around up and down, he had strong personal attributes. People liked him, they trusted him. Those have changed since the ObamaCare rollout. And I think that is hurting him. It's much harder to repair those internal qualities, do people think you're a strong leader, are you honest and trustworthy, than it is to just get your approval ratings back up. So it's a problem for him, and in midterm elections we know historically the party who has the White House, their performance generally reflects the president's approval ratings.

BAIER: Charles, I want to get you to weigh in on something that was in Jim Angles piece -- a stat that I don't think we have focused on. The administration itself made this prediction back in 2010 that essentially the estimate by the end of 2014 would be that employer plans would, 76 percent of them, would be vanished, the small employer. Large employer 55 percent, and all employers would be canceled, 63 percent in all, 63 percent of all employers, this is 157 million employer policies. Those are just astronomical numbers.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And it really undermines Obama's defense. Remember what he said a week ago when he was trying to do the patch – the fix -- to undo the cancellations, he said, well, we didn't really know this was going to happen, but it was a result of poor crafting of the law. Now in fact what it was is a result of the fundamental principle of the law, that everybody in the administration in the White House, and even among many Republicans who argued in public with him, like Eric Cantor in the meeting that they had in January, 2010, on camera, what they knew, which was the principle of the plan was you subsidize the uninsured by kicking people off their plans who have them and like them and making them pay excessively for stuff they don't need, like lactation services, which I don't really need now, perhaps I did 30 years ago, but I don't now. So you pay extra, you then subsidize the uninsured, and that's how you end up with this. Obama knew that, and it undermines his claim this is all a surprise to him, and that really hits him in his credibility.

LIASSON: And those are all things that are yet to come.

BAIER: We will continue to follow this, it's an amazing stat, and Jim will continue to dig into that. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for a photographer who dove headfirst into his assignment, plus all the Bing results.

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