A Very Bad Day at the office for President Obama on two Sunday talk shows


By Dave Andrusko

Obama208A healthy-size snowstorm was enough to put me hours behind yesterday, which means I did not get to three stories that I wanted to post about. Here’s one (and I hope time permits me to get to the other two).

It’s always tricky to try to figure out when—or if—a President is in so much trouble that he has reached a point where a serious comeback is probably out of the question. A concomitant question (at least in the short-term) is whether his lack of popularity runs so deep that he is effectively reduced to fund-raiser-in-chief.

Of course, President Obama’s fortunes are not necessarily permanently sunk. I’ve been around long enough to see political prospects turn abruptly.

Likewise it would be very unfair to omit two “givens”: (1)with the exception of Bill Clinton, the party of the President who is in his sixth year tends to take a real hit; and (2) there are many more Democrats running for re-election in the Senate than Republicans (21 to 14).

Having said that, you have to watch (or at least read the transcript of) the discussion last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Just a little background.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) will say anything, so it is not surprising that she would tell ABC’s Jeff Zeleny that “Republicans are wasting their time, using that [the hugely unpopular ObamaCare] as their electoral issue. And they will find that out.” And, for good measure, Democrats should “absolutely not” shy away from it.

ObamaCare was in the news, even more than usual, because earlier in the week pro-life Republican David Jolly defeated pro-abortion Alex Sink to win the special election to fill the seat of the late Florida Congressman Bill Young. Mr. Jolly’s opposition to ObamaCare was a huge issue in the election which he carried over Sink even though she enjoyed a slew of advantages (see “Five takeaways from pro-life David Jolly’s victory over pro-abortion Alex Sink”).

It was even worse for the President and the prospects of his fellow Democrats on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” While Pelosi will say anything, Obama’s defenders on “This Week” off quasi-plausible explanations why things aren’t as bad as they seem for Democrats.

Click here to read the February/March issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

Not so with White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer offered a tortuous, convoluted (okay, blatantly inaccurate) explanation of ObamaCare and the President’s (lack of) responsibility for making statements that were not true. Poor guy he also had to argue implausibly that the President will be an asset to Democrats running in November, not a drag.

But it got worse. Incredibly Pfeiffer insisted that ObamaCare was not an issue in Mr. Jolly’s victory which prompted this response from host David Gregory (who is in the tank for Obama as deep as you can go):

“[Democratic pollster] Geoff Garin– since you brought him up. Geoff Garin also told us–because we’ve looked at his comments–there is no question that Obamacare is a huge motivator for Republicans and turning out the vote, which they did very effectively in Florida ’13 much more so than Democrats could become a national trend.”

Asked by Gregory “Is the Senate in danger of falling to Republicans?” Pfeiffer responded, “I believe we will keep the Senate.”

But candor did carry the day, oddly enough courtesy of Robert Gibbs, who was the White House Press Secretary, 2009-2011, and is hardly a fierce critic of Barack Obama in particular or Democrats in General.

GREGORY: Is the Senate in danger?

GIBBS: Definitely.


GIBBS: Absolutely. There’s…

GREGORY: How come Dan Pfeiffer didn’t say it?

GIBBS: Because “I did the same thing a few years ago on your show and I still have tire tracks from Nancy Pelosi for saying what I thought. Honesty–you can only go so far in Washington when you’re employed. As a consultant I can say all these things now.”

Rough day at the office for President Obama.