This Week: How Will The Economy Affect Obama's Re-election Chances?

(Segment starts at 4:50.)

Hmm. Maybe the Sunday news shows don't want facts? This morning, This Week ran a John Donvan segment on women in politics, saying that women politicians don't get involved in sex scandals. One of the pictures they ran? South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. (I rest my case.)

Then the show books outright loonies like Peggy Noonan as credible guests. This was a discussion about how the economy is affecting the presidential election:

AMANPOUR: So I want to bring up the very amusing picture on the front of The Economist this week. Let's just bring it up. You've got a picture of sort of squabbling Republicans, in terms of their vying for -- for the nomination, and also you've got Obama standing there, saying, "And yet, I could still lose."

What is going on in the White House right now, Jake, in terms of concern about this very matter, that there's no clear sort of giant to take him on, and yet, policy and the economics might do that?

TAPPER: I think there's an understanding that there will be a giant, and whether it's Mitt Romney or -- George and I have talked about this -- probably more likely Tim Pawlenty, because Romney really alienates a lot of the Tea Party conservatives, and Pawlenty -- there's a real opening for him there, assuming Palin doesn't run.

Pawlenty, a giant? Giant what? The man's a shameless shill and a buffoon. But I digress.

I think there's an understanding that there will be a formidable Republican opponent. The way they say it is President Obama, you know, he got every break he could possibly get in 2008 and still 47 percent of the country voted against him. They do not expect that 47 percent opposition to go down. They think it will go up. This could be a 1- or 2-point race, and a lot of it hinges on the economy.

And right now, the president does not have a strong economic message. You saw the highest disapproval number for him when it comes to the economy, 59 percent of his presidency. That is a disastrous number, and it could really spell trouble for his re-election.

WILL: In the first quarter, housing values in this country went down 4 percent. Another 10 percent decline on housing values will mean that one-third of all the Americans with mortgages will be underwater, that is, they will owe more on their homes than their homes are worth. That is terrifying to people. You add that to the jobs numbers and Goliath, as The Economist calls the president, Goliath is very vulnerable.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's talk about Pawlenty quickly, and then we'll get to what you wanted to say, but he made a speech today on the economy. Let's just put up a little bit of what he said. I want to get your reaction to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY: Let's start as a nation with a big, positive goal. Let's grow the economy by 5 percent, instead of the anemic 2 percent currently envisioned. Such a national economic growth target will set our sights on a positive future. It'll inspire the actions needed to reach it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So I know you're considering Pawlenty as a real viable candidate. Do you think, though, that's a bit fanciful? I mean, a lot of economists have said that 5 percent today is -- I mean, it's great, it would be great, but not really possible.

WILL: A man's reach should exceed his grasp, and that certainly does. Steady 5 percent growth probably won't happen. Also, his pledge to get federal spending down to 18 percent of GDP is very hard to do with an aging population and a welfare state that exists to transfer wealth to the elderly.

That said, he's avoiding the austerity trap. He's avoiding the green eyeshade, root canal kind of politics that Ronald Reagan avoided. Reagan said we're going to get out of this mess with growth. At this point, by the way, in the Reagan recovery, after '81-'82, the economy was growing at 7 percent.

Once again, George Will's rose-colored glasses mist over as he gazes back lovingly at the revered Age of Reagan. He's lying, of course. In the Reagan recovery, economic growth tapped out at 4.9%. And he doesn't mention that unemployment was at a high of 10.8% in December 1982, brought down to 7.2% by that hated deficit spending. That Keynesian stimulus helped Reagan win reelection by a landslide. Too bad that unlike Reagan, Obama faces obstructionist Republicans in Congress who only care about winning, and not about the country, and thus refuse any further stimulus.

BRAZILE: Well, I don't know if we'll ever get back to 5 percent. One would hope that we could get back to 5 percent. We haven't seen 5 percent steady growth since John F. Kennedy. And the only countries now with -- producing 5 percent, 6 percent are the BRICs, Brazil, India and China.

So the goal right now -- the president must get Congress to focus on raising the debt ceiling, going forward with some kind of budget solution so that we can stop having these endless conversations on deficit, deficit, deficit.

The biggest deficit we face in this country today is a jobs deficit. And there's no evidence that the Republican practice of cutting the budget will in somehow create a new round of employment for -- for growth to really occur in this country.

NOONAN: I think there's something powerful in the fact that Pawlenty -- other candidates are saying, "Cut, we'll get growth. Lower taxes, we'll get growth." In an interesting sort of way, he's saying growth is the thing. And once we know that, then there are a number of things we've got to do, like cut -- limit regulation, et cetera. So he's just sort of turning the picture a little bit.

Whenever I hear Nooners babble, I think of Chance the gardener in "Being There."

I do think for any Republican right now what is the emerging theme is -- of Obama, he was handed a lot of bad stuff by history, two wars, recession, the big crash, the Great Recession, but he made it worse.

(CROSSTALK)

NOONAN: That's what's coming. Oh, my goodness. If you look at...

BRAZILE: Fifteen months of consecutive job growth? Fifteen months. So we had a bad month, 55,000 jobs or less created. A month where we had the disaster in Japan, we had natural disasters, and of course we saw energy prices rise.

The one thing that the Republicans have been doing since day one is downplaying the success that we've seen with some of the economic stimulus that the Democrats put in place.

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