OTR Interviews

Krauthammer: Buyer's remorse on Obama comes from ObamaCare having 'this wide, broad effect ... the bleeding is happening among Independents and Democrats'

Syndicated columnist sounds off on new poll that finds many Americans are disappointed in Obama's presidency


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Are Americans feeling buyer's remorse about President Obama. Take a look at the latest poll. 59 percent of Americans are disappointed in the Obama presidency. 59 percent. Not just Republicans. A big chunk of that disappointment coming from Independents and Democrats.

Joining us, Charles Krauthammer, author of "Things that Matter." It has been on the "New York Times" best-seller's list for nearly 18 weeks. If you haven't read it, you better go out and read it or you are not going to know what everybody else knows.

Good to see you, Charles.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & AUTHOR: Good to see you. Can I apply for the internship?

VAN SUSTEREN: You can. You can. Do you like my idea?

KRAUTHAMMER: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Good. I like your book and you like my one-page jobs bill.

KRAUTHAMMER: We are partners.

VAN SUSTEREN: We're partners, indeed, in crime maybe.

Why is there buyer's remorse, even from Democrats and Republicans?

KRAUTHAMMER: Obama has been presiding over the weakest recovery since the Second World War. It's amazing his numbers are as high as what they are, over 40 percent. I think people have an affection for him as a person. The other part of it is ObamaCare. ObamaCare, up until now, for the four years we have been debating this, was abstract, theoretical. It hits home. All those senators that Senator Johnson was reading from, people are getting hurt all over America.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Harry Reid says those are untrue.


VAN SUSTEREN: Or made up.

KRAUTHAMMER: I can't understand why Harry Reid would say something that is -- that he is saying is so obviously false. It's not as if it is hard to prove that it is false. Thousands and thousands of letters and emails.

But here's what's happening. It's hitting Democrats. It's hitting Independents who are losing their insurance, losing their doctor. So, I think it's this wide, broad effect. It's like you are throwing darts at a board. It's not that people are upset at a policy. If it hits you and your family, it's going to hurt you. That's why the bleeding is happening among Independents and also among Democrats.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the other areas where his numbers are sagging is in foreign policy. We have this Russian ship that is now in Havana in the Cuban harbor. Is there any possibility that we are going back into a Cold War or not?

KRAUTHAMMER: If you -- for Putin, the dictator of Russia, we never left the Cold War. Remember who the guy is. He was a KGB agent in East Germany, of all places, in Soviet days. He has destroyed and depleted a democracy he inherited. So it's now a dictatorship. He has got stability like the czar had stability. He has said publicly that the greatest calamity of the 20th century was the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet empire, and he wants it back. And Ukraine is part of that empire. And that, I think, is why he has had all the saber rattling.

It was amusing that the head of NATO today said that the mobilization of the army that Putin has ordered on the borders of the Ukraine has nothing to do with Ukraine. I mean, who are we kidding here? Ukraine was a part of Soviet Union. Putin wants it back.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I think the ship in the Havana harbor, for some reason, to me, that was a real eye opener among other things. Is there anything though that Putin has done that mitigates in the other direction, that we're not going towards a Cold War, and that perhaps that those that think we are might just be alarmist? Is there anything that he's done that mitigates in the other direction?

KRAUTHAMMER: The only difference is that, in the Cold War, it was two items at once. It was a geopolitical struggle over territory and power, a traditional one between Russia and America. But it was also ideological, about Capitalism and Communism. Nobody, even a Putin, believes in Communism anymore. So this is more of like a 19th century struggle.

Look, in 300 years since after Peter the Great, Russia expanded by a Belgium every year for 300 years. Then comes the Soviet collapse and Putin is a guy who says, this is against the natural order of things, Russia is great, I will make it great again. But it has to start with Ukraine. Because that is an element of the Russian empire. If he has Ukraine, he can have an empire. If he doesn't, he will never have an empire. That's why is he rattling his sabers, why the Bear is on the prowl.

VAN SUSTEREN: And President Obama is handling this, how?

KRAUTHAMMER: Passively. Mute. What has he said? There's nothing they have said. I would like to see some recognition of the stakes here. We have offered a billion dollars of aid, which is the right way to go. But if the Russians are going to be crude -- and Putin is crude. He is a bully. He is a thug. He is a KGB agent? If he applies raw pressure, military pressure, then at least the West has to stand up and say we're going to put a flotilla in the Black Sea, we're not going to allow this to happen. Or we are going to help the Ukrainians in Kiev to say that this cannot happen. Economic aid and a presence in the area to say you can't walk over a sovereign Ukraine.

VAN SUSTEREN: Charles, always nice to see you. Thank you, sir.