Will President Obama change his image?

Will the President change his image after playing golf shortly after the beheading of James Foley?


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 26, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Washington Insider Segment" tonight, will President Obama change his image? No question he took a huge hit when he took to the golf course after announcing indignation over the murder of American citizen James Foley by ISIS terrorists.


PEGGY NOONAN, WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST: For him repeatedly to be -- to be showing so many months now that vacation and golf and all of these things are so terribly important to him underscores the original charge of a certain detachment and disengagement. Nobody begrudges a president going away, but people are impressed when a David Cameron during a crisis like this moment with ISIS comes back from his first day of vacation to do his job.


O'REILLY: And joining us now from Washington Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry. So, do you believe that President Obama is going to change a little bit? Try to win back the American people?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No. If he wanted to do that he might have played three rounds of golf or four rounds of golf on vacation, maybe five maybe six. Instead it was nine.

And look, everyone likes to get some time off. We have been through this before. But the bottom line is to play around the golf just minutes after a statement condemning the beheading of an American journalist, it showed a president who is pretty insulated right now. Pretty frustrated with the critics and frankly doesn't give a fig about those critics and is going to do what he thinks is right whether, you know, damn the consequences. And so I don't see change.

O'REILLY: All right. Here is what I don't understand. Literally no one defended that. I didn't hear anyone defend him going on the golf course within an hour of explaining to the American public what action he was going to take in light of the murder of James Foley -- so no one.

HENRY: Agreed. Right.

O'REILLY: I don't even think Michelle told him it was a good idea. So now you are put in a position -- I have not but you are the guy. I mean I'm here in L.A. you know I don't know what he is doing.

HENRY: Fancy.

O'REILLY: But you're the guy OK. But my question is this. So you have a president who knows he got hammered by the people who don't like him and the people who do like him didn't say a word because they couldn't defend it. He knows that so it's almost like a little child. It's almost like a little child saying I don't care what anybody says, I'm not going to reconsider. Is that where we are in this country?

HENRY: That's where I think we are, because it's beyond optics. Let's take it beyond that to credibility. Which is you know so now he pivots back to work. He's got this speech at the American Legion today in Charlotte talking to veterans about hey, we might have air strikes in Syria, leaving the door open.

But look what he said. He went on to talk about Iraq and said look, we did a good thing, we brought home 140,000 U.S. troops from Iraq. That was the right thing to do.

Two weeks ago he was here at the White House as air strikes were starting, getting ready to go in Iraq and saying I wasn't the one who pulled out of Iraq, this is bogus. This is a charge that keeps coming after me. It wasn't my decision. Today he says it was his decision and he should be congratulated for it. Now there are reports that as part of dealing with the Syria situation he wants to go beyond just military -- potential military action and wants to build up the free Syrian army.

Been talking about doing that for three years or longer number one number and number two in an interview with Tom Friedman a couple weeks ago he sort of blasted if you remember former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by saying this idea of building up the Free Syrian Army was a fantasy that's what the President said.

Now there are reports they want to build up the Free Syrian Army. So it's a credibility question because the foreign policy has been all over the map.

O'REILLY: OK is there anyone in the White House that you know of that can pull President Obama aside and say you know maybe it's not good to go out on the golf course at this time. Maybe you play chess and then for 24 hours you don't do that. Stay out of the public eye. Contemplate what you want to do. Is there anybody that has any sway over him? You hear Valerie Jarrett's name all the time. You hear Michelle Obama's name all the time - - anybody else?

HENRY: Denis McDonough the Chief of Staff I think could do that I don't think he was on Martha's Vineyard with him. But there are telephones, there is e-mail. And I think the idea of playing golf as we've already discussed minutes after the talk about the beheading didn't make sense. So my point being, if there was someone who could actually do it and wants to do it they had their chance then and they didn't do it.

O'REILLY: OK so we haven't seen any of that.

HENRY: There's no one is standing up to him on that.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, when his guy goes out to talk to you, what's the new guy's name again?

HENRY: Josh Earnest.

O'REILLY: Josh Earnest OK, he looks to me to be befuddled. I mean Jay Carney, you may not have liked him but he looked like he understood the process. Mr. Earnest doesn't look like he has a lot of credibility. Is that the buzz in the press corps? I know you have got to work with him and I don't expect him you to hammer him but he just looks uncertain to me.

HENRY: Well I have great respect for Josh Earnest. I think he's certainly up to the job. But I do think as somebody new on his first few weeks of the job he's dealing with air strikes in Iraq, maybe air strikes in Syria. A journalist beheaded. It's been a difficult, rocky start that would be difficult for anyone who had been doing the job for a long time.

So, if it looks like he is struggling with some of the questions, I would say, for his sake, that some of that has to do with the fact that he has been thrown right into the fire and this is not a good time to start.

O'REILLY: Yes as you put it -- and as you put it, there is an inconsistent policy that he has to try to explain.

HENRY: He's trying to defend that he has a bad hand.

O'REILLY: Yes he does. All right Ed Henry, everybody.

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