OTR Interviews

Krauthammer: Obama told a 'whopper' on ObamaCare ... once the rhetoric fails, everything else disappears

Conservative columnist on toxic effect of ObamaCare on president and Democrats, Obama's distraction tactics with Iran


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

DANA PERINO, 'ON THE RECORD' GUEST HOST: You've seen it, the Democratic defection. The Democratic lawmakers starting to turn against ObamaCare. So why the mild rebellion? Are Democrats beginning to panic?

Charles Krauthammer joins us.

Charles, on ObamaCare first, before we get to Iran, I wanted to ask you if there's anything that you have seen that makes you think that the Obama team is going to be able to meet the deadline of November 30th that they have imposed upon themselves, and if they can return around the overall come what happens in confidence a around the country?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND AUTHOR: Well, here would have to be something of a miracle. They would have to get the website working at Amazon-like levels, which I think is extremely improbable. If it's simply there's an increase in the number of people who can actually get on, that's not going to do much. I'm not sure how the press will treat it, how the main stream media will. But if a week from today it's still as staggering as it is now, it will be a terrible strike against the administration. It will mean that every time you make a promise, it's going to be OK, it's just around the corner, there's something else around the corner.

PERINO: Are they already starting to feel the effects of what you just described? Because in poll after poll in the last 10 days to two weeks, the trust in the president himself -- they still say they like him, but the belief that he is competent to run the government to the extent that they have trust in him, has taken a real hit. Will that affect everything else they try to do?

KRAUTHAMMER: Absolutely. It poisons everything else they try to do. You're right. What has sustained the president through a lot of policy failures is that people like him and trust him and think that he intends well. But he told a whopper when he said, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. And then he added the fatal words, "period." Never punctuate an untruth. Once he said "period," that meant no excuses, no caveats, no curly Qs, this is the truth. Then when he's caught on that, he gave excuses, caveats, Curly Qs, fine print. When people hear that from a president, what that does to Obama -- Obama is a different kind of politician. He's a charismatic politician. He came in out of a cloud. He came out of nowhere. He came in on great speeches and rhetoric. And once the rhetoric fails, once people hear it and don't trust it, everything else disappears.

PERINO: Do you think that's why -- switching to the other topic I wanted to ask about, which is the deal with the U.N. Security Council regarding Iran and nuclear weapons -- do you think that the reaction, which was decidedly mixed and I know you were quite critical of the deal they reached, is there anything that you have seen that maybe you missed something, that maybe this is actually a good deal or is the trust factor for the president a real liability in this as well?

KRAUTHAMMER: In fact, the more I look into the details, the worse it is. And every time, the more I hear what the administration officials are saying in defending this, the more I see deception. I mean, I heard the secretary of state say that they are going to destroy their enriched uranium. That is simply false. They are simply going to turn it into a chemical oxide, which the administration is not telling you, can be chemically reversed at will. So they are not removing or destroying or shipping abroad their highly enriched your uranium from which you make a bomb. They are simply turning it into another chemical, disabling it temporarily, but have complete control over how and when they can reverse it.

So whenever I hear their explanations now, trying to explain all the giveaways in this and how little, in fact, nothing of any structural importance they got in stopping the nuclear program, I think it increases the problem of how credible anything they say is.

PERINO: What do you think about the timing? You know, I'm not the biggest conspiracy theorist, but they have certainly been having a tough time at the White House politically because of Obama health care. Looking to this deal, do you think they were in too much of a hurry to get something done? Or did they think they got the best deal they could?

KRAUTHAMMER: They clearly were in a hurry. They probably would have gotten here with or without the collapse of ObamaCare, but it sure gave them an extra incentive to get in a hurry, because if they need any distraction, any distraction possible for a government in collapse over its central achievement, ObamaCare is a good thing. So they want the distraction. They think people aren't going to spend a lot of time on the details of this the way the policy wonks have to because that's what they do for a living. So I think that is one of the reasons behind it.

But I do think it's part of a larger program, which is the administration wants to show something on Iran. They don't quite understand how naive all of this is, how this was tried with North Korea. We know it's a disaster. We know it's not going to work. But they want to show that they're at least making some progress. I'm afraid this new age with Iran is going to be one that we are going to regret having achieved.

PERINO: All right, Charles, author of the best seller, "Things That Matter," thank you so much.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's a pleasure, Dana. Thank you.