OTR Interviews

Has Pres. Obama lost control of his own party?

Many Democrats are openly outraged over Obama's wheeling and dealing to get a spending bill passed through the House. Is he alerady a lame duck?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 12, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Joining us is former Democratic congressional candidate, Jessica Ehrlich.

Jessica, thank you for joining us. And that last comment by Leader Pelosi where she says that the president thinks the only way he can get a bill is by going along with it, that certainly does suggest a weakening at the White House or a decay between the relationship between Leader Pelosi and President Obama. Yes or no? Am I wrong or am I right?

JESSICA EHRLICH, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I mean, it does sound like it. And certainly, there is a lot of finger pointing post midterm elections as opposed to who is responsible for what. It went both directions, I think, between Pelosi pointing at the White House and the White House pointing at the House leadership.

VAN SUSTEREN: That doesn't seem much -- these two need to work together. You know, politically. I mean, there is a public display last night which at least suggested things are crumbling at least at the moment in the Democratic Party on the Hill and with the president.

EHRLICH: I don't know that things are crumbling so much as we are seeing new emergence of what's going on between the members that are there. Members of the Democratic party, who actually voted for the bill last night, a lot of them were either on the appropriations committee itself, had worked on negotiating the bill, there are members of the new Democrat coalition, which is a more business friendly and moderate group led by Steny Hoyer, by Jim Clyburn.

There were a lot of the Congressional Black Caucus members who voted for the bill. Then you had a lot of the more progressive members who voted against it, particularly because of not only the Dodd/Frank weakening but also because of the political party money spending that went in. So there's a lot of issues going on here as to what the future is going to look like for the next two years in Congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's very interesting. President Obama, I don't remember him being so active on the telephones. I mean, he's been kind of sit back and let Leader Pelosi take over. Obviously, a different position than she does. Obviously, the election has now moved the Senate over to the Republican side and the House has been Republican. We now see a president who seems more engaged, but the engagement we see is almost a declaration of war when he is fighting with the Democratic leader in the House.

EHRLICH: I don't know if that's a declaration of war so much as it is interesting to see him finally getting engaged with the House and maybe recognizing this is what would have been helpful for a lot of initiatives in the last four years. There is certainly a lot of, I think, members and different folks who have animosity. We saw that after the elections.

But it's interesting, even with Senator Reid, it's interesting to see his office come together now with the president on this bill because it's important to get an appropriation bill passed. It was important to get funding for the government. As you mentioned, there are these provisions that were thrown in that really have no place in a spending bill but that's how appropriation bills work. That's the way it happens in Washington.

But, you know, it's one of those things where there's finger pointing that happens. Then you get on board with each other. You know, it's called actually working together. And for some reason, it's the compromise that's become the sort of bad word for people. And you see it in both parties where you have got, you know, obstructionist who have been elected in the Republicans, who have either even more of them coming into office who will be there and really giving Boehner a run for his money.

I mean, if you look at what happened, you know, they were only two votes shy of this bill not making it out of the rules. And then, you know, having to go back, and Boehner is busy twisting arms among his members as Pelosi was and the president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jessica, thank you for joining us.