Bob Woodward on Obama's second term agenda

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 21, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Continuing with our inauguration coverage let's go back to Washington to bring in Bob Woodward associate editor of the "The Washington Post", author of the book: "The Price of Politics."

So, you think I'm wrong in saying that President Obama is going to continue his big spending agenda in order to redistribute income no matter what the price the country pays?

BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think you hit on the right theme. Social justice, he calls it equality. The question is how do you get there? And I think he knows in his head that you get there by mobilizing the economy, getting the engine going. If you think about it, the greatest social injustice is not being able to get a job. You have to get that unemployment number down.

What I really think there was somewhat of a lost opportunity here. If he'd given healing speech. Supposed he had turned around, which would have been extraordinary Speaker Boehner, the Republican leader of the House and said we're going to work together on these things we're going to fix my agenda and your agenda and of course Boehner's agenda is we have to cut spending and even Obama's economists tell him that.

So they missed this opportunity. Also, I remember Catherine Gram who was the publisher of "The Post" used to always say it's very difficult to not like somebody who says they like you. You've talked to Republicans and Democrats here and they have the feeling -- I'm not sure it's correct -- but they feel Obama doesn't like them.

O'REILLY: He doesn't -- he doesn't like them. I mean, it's pretty clear that he doesn't like them because he doesn't feel -- he feels that they are the purveyors of white privilege, Bob. And -- and you know he's never going to say that but that's the theme that runs through his advisors. The white privileged has to be broken down.

WOODWARD: I don't agree, I think he just doesn't agree with Republicans on their agenda. And he's hurting his own cause.

O'REILLY: Ok I know what you say but think about what I just said. The Republican agenda in his mind, the President's mind props up white privilege. And therefore, as the social justice champion, he has to tear that down. He doesn't like the white privilege thing and he doesn't like the Republicans trying to defend it. And that's the seed.

Now, I want to ask you a question.

WOODWARD: Ok. But I'm going to disagree.

O'REILLY: Yes I know Woodward is going to disagree.

WOODWARD: It's a broader -- it's a broader disagreement with the Republican agenda. And he hammered hard in the campaign. And he won tax increases for the top one percent. That's a big deal to him.

O'REILLY: Ok. 1985 Ronald Reagan comes up. He says exactly the opposite. Exactly the opposite of Barack Obama. Reagan says the government's the problem. We ought to get the government out of the way and unleash the American people who will return the nation to prosperity.

Reagan very popular President among Americans remains so. Personally, personally Barack Obama very popular among Americans you know I think his personal rate is around 59 percent. Job approval 52.

How can this country in the space of, what, almost 30 years, change so dramatically in our philosophy?

WOODWARD: Well, first of all, Obama today did say that it's a fiction to believe that government alone can solve all of the problems. So he -- he's is taking somewhat of a middle course now. If you look at that speech, I mean it's an odd speech -- he just threw out things. There's -- there's kind of no coherent plan and again, I think the missed opportunity was to say to the American public and the world, look, this is where I'm going. This is what matters. One, two, three, these are the things I'm going to do. And there was a scatter shot approach. And I think a lot of the speech was unnecessarily vague.

O'REILLY: All right but you didn't answer my question. I know it's a little bit of an esoteric question. How can the nation change in less than 30 years where we're -- Ronald Reagan becomes an icon into what we have now which is 180 degrees opposite of Reagan? What changed?

WOODWARD: I think part of this I mean, looking at presidents you realize that their personal appeal and popularity is often what people vote on. And that happened to Reagan and Obama as you point out is personally popular.

I think this 19-minute speech, quite frankly is going to be quickly forgotten. I mean as the old John Mitchell who is the attorney general for Nixon who said quite rightly "Don't watch what we say, watch what we do." And I think we have to see what Obama is really going to do.

And of course, what the Republicans are doing. I think the other thing if I can dwell on it for a moment, he didn't talk about the world.


WOODWARD: The world is a very dangerous place and there are a lot of dangerous things going on. And he may have -- he skipped it.


O'REILLY: No he didn't do that. But he would have left that to the state of the union anyway. But you are right. He could have rallied. He didn't really rally tonight. Everybody is just as hard as they were when they got up this morning. Bob always a pleasure.

WOODWARD: Thank you it's a pleasure.

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