White House Holds Progressive Media Mixer

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," December 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: A pile of progressives hit the White House to hobnob with President Obama. Oh, to be a fly in that room. You'd probably be in Ed Schultz's hair. It's like the BP spill in there.

Anyway, this lump of lefties included Schultz, Rachel Maddow, a few bloggers too boring to mention and the lady from "The Nation." Seriously, the crowd in this room was bigger than their collective audience.

The only group more progressive than this wore mouse suits to work.

According to ABC's Jake Tapper, the gaggle tackled strategies to fight GOP candidates, ways to highlights those achievements while fighting corporate influence. Basically, it was occupy the White House without the drum circle and a vandalized port-o-potty.

So, if you need to know where the president is coming from, or better, who occupies his brain, I don't think you could find a better stable. These folks are to left of the left, so progressive than even their Che shirts wear Che shirts.

And Obama feels comfortable around them because he is them.

I don't know what they said to each other. But here's a few things I know weren't said -- "Mr. President, we are going to hit you with some tough questions," "We need to be less like Europe," and, "Wow, 'The Five' is really kicking our butts."

Bob, I don't know what you are doing on your phone there.


DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: He's taking a call from the White House.

GUTFELD: Were you complaining that they had a bunch of lightweights at the White House and you were not there? You should have been there, Bob. Were you listening to my -- you didn't even listen to my monologue.

BECKEL: I did. I heard everything you said. I always listen to your monologue. I'm sorry, I can multitask, just trying to get the horse in before the race went off.

No, I'm only kidding.

I don't -- why do you think I wasn't invited?

PERINO: Do you think they complain to him about him not governing from the left enough?

BECKEL: I'm sure that was part of it. But I also think that, you know, it's one of these outreach things that you do with media. You know, you've been through this before. I mean, they used to have on the White House when George Bush was there, you had a lot of conservative radio people out, right?


PERINO: Once a year. That was great. Radio row was a brilliant idea.


BECKEL: And leaving aside that I defend Obama everyday on this show, and some days, I feel like the only fire hydrant at the Westminster Dog Show.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: But why wouldn't they invite you, Bob? You actually are the most high-profile, you reach more people than any of those people on this list every single day on our show, with our viewership. Why wouldn't they call you?

GUTFELD: You are the most famous liberal in America.

BECKEL: No, that's not the case. The case is that -- never mind. I don't want to go --

PERINO: He's getting embarrassed, he's blushing.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Can I point something out? The group chatted with the president about the economic messaging, fine. His agenda for '12, fine. But here's the one that really gets me, the various campaign arguments against different GOP candidates.

GUTFELD: Yes, that's different.

BOLLING: Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot.

PERINO: So, it wasn't an interview, as much as a strategy.

BOLLING: How are we going to attack the various GOP candidates in campaigns?

GUTFELD: That's what I was wondering. You know, Bob brought this up. He said, you know, Bush used to have get-togethers. Is there a difference between that and this?

PERINO: Well, not really.

GUTFELD: I mean, when you hear about that?

PERINO: Not really. Well, I don't know. I've not been in the room. I do know that certainly on the right, some people were not very happy with President Bush for certain things. They ask questions in a very respectful way, possibly on immigration or on the war. I remember one of my favorite people to have in there was Charles Krauthammer, who I know you guys know I love. Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal and several other types of columnist. We would not just do conservatives. We did lots of different types.

And, in fact, President Obama, before he took office, he sat with all the conservatives and they were quite impressed, and then he never talked to them again, which I think is a mistake.

GUTFELD: I guess the issue with me is that the people that were there just seemed so, I don't know, marginal. I mean, what's next? "Occupy Wall Street" protesters invited there?

TANTAROS: If they can't get more than 25 people to watch their television shows, I'm not sure how they're going to get more than 25 people to vote for Obama.

This has to be a strategy session, because if you look at the names on this list, they are so far left, as you mentioned in your monologue. He already has this base locked up. Why would you go to them unless you're --

PERINO: It's good because it can help for them. It can put it the context, OK, now I understand what the president is thinking is. And how he is, you know, in context, the friend that we talked about.

TANTAROS: Now we can go out and do his bidding.

BECKEL: Listen, this is basically politics, White House 101. When you got people upset with you, a lot of these liberal media have been upset with him, or it's donors or other people, you bring them in and you have a strategy session. We want to hear your points of view, and all that is to do is to bring people back in.

PERINO: Air it out.

BOLLING: But that's not airing it out when they say the various campaign arguments against --


BECKEL: That's not unusual. That's not a big deal.

BOLLING: How is that airing things out? How will we attack Mitt Romney?

TANTAROS: Obama goes, here is our opposition research book on all of this.

BOLLING: Right. Thank you very much.

PERINO: Gingrich and Romney and other presidential candidates on the right have been asked if you become the nominee, then how would you attack President Obama? I think that's kind of a legit question.

What I think would have been fun is to be that fly that ended up in Ed Schultz's hair, to be in the morning meeting with President Obama when he came to the Oval Office and looked at his schedule. He's like oh, no, today! Why did we do this? He didn't want to do it either.

BECKEL: What do you think the congressional Republican leadership does when they meet with right-wing radio talk show hosts? You don't think they talk about how you're going to beat up on Obama?

BOLLING: I don't see Hannity's name on here.

BECKEL: And you won't.


BECKEL: I don't want to upset you, yours won't be on their either.

BOLLING: Can I point something out? I went over to Del Frisco's and I met Ed Schultz by accident. I bought him a scotch. You think being a successful TV guy, you would think he'd buy a drink back. Never once offered to buy me a drink.

GUTFELD: I once saw him walking down 49th street wearing baggy khaki shorts with knee-high white socks.

BOLLING: One-way street.

GUTFELD: I thought, you're dressed like a --

PERINO: Is that true?

GUTFELD: Yes -- you're dressed like a German boy at fat camp.

GUTFELD: You're 55, 60 years old.

BECKEL: Obama has had trouble on the left for the last year, and in one way, to try and bring these people in. He doesn't need them with all the other problems he's got, having to get picked up from the left.

And so, you bring them in and you say, how do you think we ought to attack Romney? I mean, are you kidding me? Those questions are asked every day at the White House.

BOLLING: With media personalities?

BECKEL: Sure. Happens all the time.

BOLLING: Come on, Bob. That's ridiculous.

BECKEL: With known partisan media people, sure.

PERINO: I bet they asked him some questions that were maybe a little bit uncomfortable.

TANTAROS: But this White House has also had a cozy relationship with reporters. So, they release their books and it's questionable how much access the White House has give them to write a lot of their books. Jonathan Alter, Newsweek.


TANTAROS: He wrote a book and was a little cozy.

GUTFELD: Yes, but unlike Reagan and even Clinton, Obama to the media is a rock star. He knows that. So he knows the moment -- if the left is upset with him, bring him in and then he smiles. And they're all happy again.

BOLLING: This is the problem, though. You notice there are names on the list, a lot of media outlets that aren't on the list. They must be freaking out right now.

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