David Gergen And Co. Continue The 'Obama Needs To Move To The Center' Nonsense

As predicted by Steve Benen, here's the AC360 panel discussing the midterm elections and one David Gergen claiming that President Obama isn't going to be able to get his "liberal agenda" passed now and that he's going to have to "come to the middle"
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As predicted by Steve Benen, here's the AC360 panel discussing the midterm elections, and one David Gergen claiming that President Obama isn't going to be able to get his "liberal agenda" passed now and that he's going to have to "come to the middle" if the Republicans take back the Congress. Sorry David, but President Obama already "came to the middle", in fact he unfortunately started there with way too many of the bills he either got passed or attempted to get passed and all he got in return was Republican obstruction.

Apparently Gergen and thinks that "coming to the middle" means passing a Republican agenda.

COOPER: Ed and David, you both have seen in White Houses, you know, a president who, going into midterm elections, faced a tough battle. And different presidents react differently: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton. How do you think -- if the House goes back to Republican -- David, let's start with you -- how do you think that affects President Obama? How -- what changes?

GERGEN: Well, in the first place, he's not going to be able to get his liberal agenda through. That's just -- that's going to be finished.

And -- but the question is whether he's going to come to the middle and whether Republicans will do that, and we can actually get some real progress, not only on jobs, but on the deficits. I think it could be -- it could be serious gridlock, or we could go the other way. I don't think we know the answer to that yet.

I do think, if he demonizes John Boehner, to go back to the point just made, I think it could become harder to work with him.

I'd love for David Gergen to explain how John Boehner could be any harder to work with than he has been already. The President needs to do more of and not less of what he did during his Labor Day speech with calling out the GOP for their obstruction, no matter what the talking heads like the ones on this panel had to say. And John Ridley, you should be ashamed of yourself for saying you'd like to give the Republicans a chance to show what they stand for, like you don't know already. What ought to be nerve-wracking for you is what happens to our economy if the Republicans are allowed to put any fixes on hold for the next two years.

Full transcript via CNN below the fold.

COOPER: Well, continuing our political conversation, you have heard the phrase pick your poison. Well, new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation polling shows that 49 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Democrats, and 49 percent have the same view of Republicans.

Yet, when it comes to actually voting, that same polling suggests that people are choosing between the two, and choosing Republican. By a seven-point margin, 52 percent to 45 percent, Americans say they prefer a Republican to a Democrat in their congressional district. The Republican margin is bigger, nearly 2-1, among independents.

Back with our panel, John King, David Gergen, John Ridley, and Ed Rollins.

John Ridley, a lot of Democrats have said, you know, that some of the Tea Party candidates the GOP has nominated this year are going to put a lot of races Democrats back in play for the Democrats, but is that just wishful thinking on their part?

JOHN RIDLEY, FILM DIRECTOR/ACTOR/WRITER: I think it will put some back in play.

You can certainly see in Nevada, where Harry Reid and Sharron Angle -- you know, Harry Reid was dead, buried and gone. And now he has got an opportunity. I -- I don't think that the Democrats can assume that every one of these races is going to be able to be put on: Look, they're the extreme, and -- and you can't vote for these individuals.

Clearly, the numbers you -- you read, Anderson, people are frustrated, and people are angry. They don't like either party. They have tried the Democrats for a while. They're going back to the Republicans, which is actually the problem with a two-party system. You don't have much of a place to go.

COOPER: John King, I mean, the president is on this now big push all this week about jobs. He spoke today. We're going to play some of that in just a moment.

But, you know, one CNN poll, people seem to blame Republicans over Democrats for our current economic problems, but, despite that, there's this seven-point Republicans have in congressional races. KING: Well, that's because the Democrats are in charge. And, when you're frustrated, you take it out on the party in power. And the president's power almost always historically suffers in the midterm election, especially the first one.

The president is a Democrat right now. The Democrats have run Congress for the past few years, so they're in charge. And you're right. The number blaming the Republicans, the percentage, has gone up a little bit, which would suggest that all those Democratic ads around the country that people are starting to see and the president's message might be breaking through a little bit.

But the troubling news for the Democrats, Anderson, is the Democratic number for blame has gone up some, too. It's pretty clear the American people blame both parties for the economic mess, maybe the Republicans a little bit more, but there are a lot more Democratic incumbents on the ballot in eight weeks. And history tells you the party in power gets punished.

COOPER: You know, David, it's interesting. You look back, Democrats are in even worse shape politically now than they were at the beginning of the summer. Were -- were -- do you think things were always going to be this bad, given the economy, or were there missed opportunities, politically speaking, for -- for Democrats?

GERGEN: It's -- it's -- it's odd, Anderson. In the last two summers, the Democrats have lost control of the national message over the summer.

They did it last year with the -- with the town halls in the health care debate. And now this year, they have lost control of the -- of the -- of the argument over the economy. And that's why you see Democrats now starting to localize races, instead of making national arguments, in many of these races, while the Republicans want to nationalize this.

But I think that, overall, the Democrats have lost ground over the last 60 days. You take -- you -- you go back to the Tea Party, Rand Paul in West Virginia, you know, we thought at one time that maybe he would be in trouble. He's opened up a double-digit lead there as a Tea Party candidate.

COOPER: And that's another great example of not talking. After he gave that, you know, controversial interview, I think, to Rachel Maddow, he kind of -- there was suddenly radio silence from him.

ROLLINS: Well, he -- he learned. And every one of these Tea Party candidates have basically taken a lead. The only one that's in a real race is -- is Angle. And she was the flakiest of them all, she's basically almost dead-even with Reid.

The bottom line here is whose side turns out. And I know the issue, that the Democrats have pushed the health care, they pushed an $850 billion deficit. Both of those are very unpopular. And people don't think they have worked. So, if you have got a choice between someone who you are not sure of and someone who you are sure is going to basically make your situation worse for you and your kids and going to raise your taxes, then you're going to vote for the Republican.

COOPER: I just want to play something that President Obama said today in a speech targeting or talking about John Boehner. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the Republican who -- who thinks he's going to take over as speaker...

(LAUGHTER)

(BOOING)

OBAMA: I'm just saying, that's his opinion.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: He's entitled to his opinion, as -- but -- but -- but, when he was asked about this, he dismissed those jobs as government jobs that weren't worth saving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: John King, does it make sense for President Obama to be talking about John Boehner?

KING: It makes sense for President Obama to be talking about John Boehner if he sees evidence -- and he has plenty of it, Anderson -- that his side is not motivated, his side is not energized.

So, he's trying to raise the stakes for those union workers right behind him. I was looking at some polling data tonight that says 33 percent, one-third, of union households plan to vote Republican for Congress this year.

If that happens, that's recreating -- ask Ed Rollins about the old Reagan Democrats. Those are blue-collar workers in the 1980s who decided their party had become too liberal. It was wasting their tax dollars through spending too much money.

If that happens to this president this year, if 33 percent of union households vote Republican for Congress, then John Boehner will be the next speaker of the House.

ROLLINS: John Boehner is not known by the country. So the president raises and elevates him and tries to make him a bogeyman. And what the president has done basically was going to be above partisanship, has become the ultimate partisan. And I promise you over the next eight weeks, his own negatives are going to get higher, and he will diminish himself and diminish his party.

COOPER: Ed and David, you both have seen in White Houses, you know, a president who, going into midterm elections, faced a tough battle. And different presidents react differently: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton. How do you think -- if the House goes back to Republican -- David, let's start with you -- how do you think that affects President Obama? How -- what changes?

GERGEN: Well, in the first place, he's not going to be able to get his liberal agenda through. That's just -- that's going to be finished.

And -- but the question is whether he's going to come to the middle and whether Republicans will do that, and we can actually get some real progress, not only on jobs, but on the deficits. I think it could be -- it could be serious gridlock, or we could go the other way. I don't think we know the answer to that yet.

I do think, if he demonizes John Boehner, to go back to the point just made, I think it could become harder to work with him.

COOPER: John Ridley, you had said before that this -- I mean, it could make President Obama kind of go back to the center?

RIDLEY: Well, I think it has to make him go back to center. I agree with David on that. And I also agree that, look, there's a possibility there's going to be a real narrow margin, a real even split between the House and Senate, post- midterm. I can't see anything but gridlock going on. I mean, these are groups that don't get along. They've been fighting. There's a lot of fight ahead about what to do with this economy.

And quite frankly, I'd almost rather see more of a Republican majority, to give them an opportunity to do what they're going to do, make President Obama the arbitrator with the veto, and see where the country goes. But a narrow majority, that's a little nerve-wracking for me, personally.

COOPER: All right. We've got to leave it there, actually.

Ed, I'm sorry.

John King, David Gergen, Ed Rollins, thank you. John Ridley, as well. We'll obviously continue this as our political coverage continues all the way through to the midterms.

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