This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 22, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Barack and a Hard Place" segment tonight, with 2009 drawing to a close, it seems like everyone is giving President Obama year-end grades.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN ROBERTS, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" HOST: Give him a report card on three fronts.
BILL O'REILLY, "O'REILLY FACTOR" HOST: Okay.
ROBERTS: Let's start with health care.
O'REILLY: Health care I'd say D as in dog.
ROBERTS: How about jobs? We have seen encouraging turn.
O'REILLY: B, boy, for jobs.
ROBERTS: Now Afghanistan?
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, R - CALIF.: When it comes to effort, should get a straight A.
OPRAH WINFREY: What grade would you give yourself for this year?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Good solid B plus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Here now with their own presidential report card are "Barack and a Hard Place" team Fox News analyst Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes.
Now, Colmes, I have to start with you, okay, because, you know.
ALAN COLMES: You can call me Alan if you want.
INGRAHAM: No, I like Colmes. The economy and jobs. Be fair. Don't be a partisan. Grade.
COLMES: I'm not doing this as a partisan. I think on the economy, I give him a B-minus. We have a long way to go, but certain economic indicators are up. November's home sales up 7.4 percent. Highest level since October of 2007. Economic indicators rose for eight straight months, improved economy in 2010. That's likely to happen. Still got a problem on jobs. So that's where I give him a B minus. The economy and jobs. You know, we got a ways to go.
MONICA CROWLEY, PH.D., FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: A ways to go. That's an understatement.
INGRAHAM: Monica Crowley.
COLMES: But we're making progress, aren't we?
INGRAHAM: B minus.
INGRAHAM: For real. unemployment's about 17 percent.
INGRAHAM: When you look at...
COLMES: That's a made up number and you know it. The actual number you know is less than that. So don't make up numbers.
INGRAHAM: Well, B minus for 10 percent unemployment.
COLMES: But I thought I was the guy grading him, not you.
CROWLEY: Right. No, it's my turn now, Colmes. I give him a flat out F, Laura because there's 10 percent...
COLMES: Oh, come on.
CROWLEY: ..unemployment rate in this country. And we have an excruciatingly slow jobless recovery. In fact, today we heard that GDP grew at 2.2 percent, which is significantly less than the experts had anticipated here. And on top of it, this president is advancing policies, Laura, that are only going to kill job creation and slow any kind of recovery that we might see next year. Case in point, this health care monstrosity that is full of monumental tax increases.
INGRAHAM: Now I saw this piece today in "The L.A. Times," a government report came out yesterday, talked about the numbers of defaults on mortgages, and that they're disturbingly high, especially among people who've gotten assistance from banks and had their rates lowered trying to work out a deal so they can stay in the game. And it turns out those people are having an incredibly difficult time making their mortgage payments. That in and of itself, Alan, people are concerned.
COLMES: Look, that's why it's a B minus, not a B or a B plus. I've just mentioned economic indicators are coming up. Eight months in a row, economic indicators are up. Jobs, unfortunately, as has been pointed out by the president himself are the last to come back. It'll be middle 2010. We've already seen somewhat of a reversal though in the job loss. And that's key.
I think you guys are being extremely harsh. And I don't know if you're rooting for things to go bad, because you don't want the guy to succeed.
CROWLEY: Of course not.
COLMES: ...Because you're Republicans.
COLMES: But the fact is...
INGRAHAM: I root for America.
COLMES: There are actual numbers I cited that show that things are on the upswing.
CROWLEY: And actually.
INGRAHAM: Okay, well.
CROWLEY: Actually, though...
CROWLEY: ...the two most politically toxic elements of this recession, Laura, exactly as you pointed out, home foreclosures and people under water.
INGRAHAM: All right.
CROWLEY: .and his mortgage modification program did nothing to help many people at all.
INGRAHAM: Let's move on to foreign policy. We're going to run out of time here. Alan, foreign policy, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran?
COLMES: Okay, on foreign policy, I give him a C. He's too slow getting out of Iraq. He is -- I don't support sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The problem apparently is al Qaeda in Pakistan. I'm concerned we're increasing troops and at great expenditure. People complain about the money for health care, but the money we're spending, $1 million a soldier a year in Afghanistan for what? In a country that's never been able to be controlled by anybody, whether it's warlords run it. I'm very concerned about that. And I give him a C on that.
CROWLEY: I am giving him...
INGRAHAM: Now Monica, he's doubling down in Afghanistan.
INGRAHAM: I'm surprised you're giving him a...
CROWLEY: I am giving him a D because while he did get some NATO countries to up the ante in terms of their troop commitments to Afghanistan, he has projected weakness throughout this first year by throwing our allies under the bus, by embracing adversaries of the United States that have not reciprocated at all. And the results have been that the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Syrians, Venezuelans, Chinese, the list goes on, they are rolling this guy. On top of it, he has spent a good portion of his first year apologizing for the United States and has gotten nothing for that in return.
INGRAHAM: All right, let's skip down. We're going to skip the next category. We're going to go right to health care, because that's obviously animating driving the debate now on Capitol Hill. Alan, on health care ...
INGRAHAM: ..you give him a B, I believe?
COLMES: I give him a B. Look, this is still a works in progress. A lot of things are still works in progress. Look, at Crowley (INAUDIBLE). Look, this is a works in progress. If he gets it passed, he gets an A or an A minus.
But actually, I'd have to say an A minus if he gets it passed. He gets a B for now. And that's because he hasn't fought strongly enough for single payer, something he supported as a state senator. He doesn't strike -- fight -- strongly enough for a public option, which then came out of it. We made so many compromises here. It's better than nothing. It's better than having no bill. It's better than what Howard Dean wants, going back to reconciliation. However, he deserves a B for making this front and center and getting both Houses to approve a bill by the end of his first year in office.
INGRAHAM: Alan, are you looking at these polls? Are you seeing different numbers than I am? I am.
COLMES: I'm seeing numbers. When you ask people specifically...
INGRAHAM: This health care bill, they don't want it.
COLMES: ...about whether they want government involved, they say yes. Generally, the polls under 50 percent.
INGRAHAM: 46 percent approval rating.
COLMES: But poll after poll, people want government involved. Quinnipiac poll, CNN, CBS, poll after poll. People want reform. And they want a government option...
INGRAHAM: Oh, you're cherry picking there.
COLMES: ...when that is included in specific poll questions.
INGRAHAM: They don't want the bill.
INGRAHAM: Monica, I love Alan, I always have a soft spot for him, but...
COLMES: Oh, yeah, I can tell.
INGRAHAM: ...health care reform, issue after issue, poll after poll shows that the American people, the more they hear about it now it's bribes and payoffs...
INGRAHAM: ...the more they dislike it. What are you rate him?
CROWLEY: Absolutely right.
INGRAHAM: You rate him an F, I imagine.
CROWLEY: This is why I'm giving him an F. Alan says oh, he deserves credit for putting it front and center. Actually, the American people wanted him front and center on jobs and the economy.
COLMES: Which he's doing.
CROWLEY: Instead, he was off in the weeds on health care. And look, Laura, his original vision for this was a huge robust public option that would get us ultimately to single payer. He said repeatedly over the years single payer was his ultimate objective. He didn't get those. And at every turn, he has cheered on whatever the Congress has came up with. And now he has settled on this Senate bill, which is an incoherent mess.
COLMES: Because it shows he's pragmatic. He's not a radical as you guys paint him out to be, but he's a pragmatic leader.
INGRAHAM: Finally, you guys, finally on leadership, Alan, I think that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were more leaders in many ways than Barack Obama over the last several months.
COLMES: Well, that's easy to say. I give him a B.
INGRAHAM: But you gave him a B.
COLMES: In many cases, it is too soon to tell. Like health care, this still has to be enacted like a number of things. He is pragmatic. He is a compromiser. You act like that's a terrible thing. I don't know whether you want a dictator or not...
COLMES: ...but somebody who actually works and is pragmatic in terms of getting stuff done. You can either get stuff done, be pragmatic.
INGRAHAM: Yeah, but (INAUDIBLE).
COLMES: And make compromises. Or you can stand on a hill and decide you're not going to get anything done.
INGRAHAM: $800 billion compromise , Monica. We're almost out of time.
CROWLEY: Yeah, yeah.
INGRAHAM: $800 billion compromise.
CROWLEY: Yeah, this is why I'm giving him a D, because all you have to do is ask very annoyed Democrats on Capitol Hill this president has been AWOL on the stimulus and health care.
INGRAHAM: All right.
CROWLEY: He's allowed them to do it. Plus, blaming Bush, Laura, come on. And all this arm twisting, this is supposed to pass as leadership?
COLMES: There are three branches of government. He's not a dictator.
INGRAHAM: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas.
CROWLEY: Merry Christmas, Laura.
INGRAHAM: Monica and Alan, we appreciate it.
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