Buyer's Remorse: Do Democrats Have an Obama Hangover?

This is a rush transcript of "America's Election HQ" from March 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BILL HEMMER, HOST: All right, Martha, time now for America's voice where we check in with the top radio hosts across the country to see what issues, what America is fired up.

One of our favorite hosts says her listeners are talking about Democrats who have been hung up on Obama, who now have a major Obama hangover. Here to explain, nationally syndicated radio host Monica Crowley.

Hello Monica.

Video: Watch the interview


HEMMER: Who has got a hangover?

CROWLEY: I think there are a lot of Democrats who got really excited about Obama, rightfully so and a lot of them still are, but there is a good proportion of them who might be having a little bit of buyer's remorse.

HEMMER: How so?

CROWLEY: Hillary Clinton's latest ad, the red telephone, who is going to answer the phone call in the case of an international crisis at 3:00 in the morning. That actually was a very effective ad for her and I think it has raised a lot of questions in a lot of voter's minds about preparedness. Hillary has been running on this whole experience thing for a long time and it hasn't been going anywhere for her. The latest polls today show that the tracking numbers in Texas and Ohio show that actually late deciders, late-breaking Democrats are going to her.

The question in the mind is, is Barack Obama ready for primetime?

HEMMER: We had a show last night where Frank Luntz had a great group of 30 New Yorkers here in the studio down the street here and they watched both ads and they actually liked the Obama ad more than the Clinton ad. They love Obama and they love everything he says, but they could not name anything he has done, which brings us back to the issue for Obama.

CROWLEY: That is the exact issue Bill. You've hit on it. Barack Obama is a great counter-puncher. When Hillary Clinton lands a punch and does it effectively, he comes right back within a split second and lands an equally effective counter punch.

HEMMER: I think you're very right. They have been very nimble to date about counter-punching. You're right and they're fast with it too.

CROWLEY: That's right. But there is - I think there is a bubbling up, if you will, of sentiment among a lot of more old-school Democrats saying, we drank the whole bottle of champagne over Barack Obama and it was fizzy and it was great and it gave us a great buzz, but when from push comes to shove in the end, who do we really want running against John McCain and you just ran that clip of McCain saying, look, I was sitting in a cockpit ready to go during the Cuban missile crisis. That's a very difficult thing for any young (INAUDIBLE) to run against.

HEMMER: So eventually you got around to the metaphor about the handover. I get it now. What are Republican listeners saying? They're calling up and they're asking you what about that?

CROWLEY: Not much. There isn't much conversation going on on the conservative side. We had this huge burst of interest at the tail end of the real primary season here when Romney was still in the race where conservatives were saying we're not happy with John McCain or we want him to do X,Y and Z. We'll never vote for him. Conservatives have pretty much gotten over a lot of that especially now that it has come to the reality that the alternative is either going to be Senator Clinton or Senator Obama and for a lot of conservatives, that's just a choice that they don't want to face.

HEMMER: In the meantime, McCain is out in Arizona with about a dozen well-known Republicans. They're talking about a national strategy already, whether it's McCain-Obama or McCain-Clinton, is the presumptive Republican nominee.

CROWLEY: Exactly and the thing about John McCain is now that he is the nominee and let's face it -

HEMMER: Well, almost.

CROWLEY: Mike Huckabee is still in the race, but the next thing for Mike Huckabee is Huck on ice, a Broadway musical. He's not going anywhere, so I want to talk about John McCain and John McCain is already running a general election campaign.

HEMMER: Monica, good to have you, America's voice, nice to see you.

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