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Panel on High Expectations for Obama

Panel on High Expectations for Obama

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - November 19, 2008

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STENY HOYER, (D-MD) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: I watched Barack Obama celebrating with more than 100,000 in Chicago and tens of millions across our nation. I had a sense that America was filled with a new hope and sense of confidence in our ability to meet our challenges successfully.

Obviously, expectations are high. Recent polls have shown that Americans do, in fact, believe that president-elect Obama can be successful in meeting the challenges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HUME: And so do the news media, it seems. If you look at the covers of "Time" and "Newsweek" you can hardly get better examples. There you see Obama depicted on the cover of "Time" magazine as FDR complete with the cigarette in the holder, and on the cover of "Newsweek" in the shadow or at least looking in the shadow really, or maybe casting the shadow of Abraham Lincoln.

It says Obama is Lincoln. I assume Lincoln as Obama sees him, or maybe it means Obama is Lincoln. Who know with "Newsweek"?

Back with our panel to discuss all this now. So, Nina, expectations for Barack Obama, as even Steny Hoyer has acknowledged, are extraordinarily high. How hard to meet?

EASTON: They're very high and very hard to meet. The press, yes, is going above and beyond its little call of liberal duty to embrace him. However--and 74 percent of people say they are somewhat or very confident he can solve their problems.

So yes, the expectations are high and the problems are very severe. However, I think a couple of things--one, I think he is going to have an extended honeymoon because he can easily blame all the problems he is facing on the Bush administration. These are problems that were there when he got there, so that will take him a pretty long ways into his administration.

Keep in mind, this is not -- Bill Clinton, there was a lot of enthusiasm when he came in. This is a 43 percent president. We are talking a nearly 53 percent president.

The enthusiasm that the press is buying into, it's not -- I don't think the press is creating the enthusiasm. I think it is inappropriately buying into it, but I think the enthusiasm is there, and it's real, and I think it will be an extended honeymoon for him.

SAMMON: The press has turned into a joke. Come on. Comparing this guy who hasn't even started his presidency to FDR to Lincoln? There was a paragraph in one of the News weeklies that used the word "Obama" and "manger" in the same paragraph, which is always a bad sign.

This is--no mere mortal could possibly live up to the expectations. The press is doing him no favors by setting the bar this high.

Although I will say that Barack Obama himself, and I know sometimes he tries to tamp down expectations, he has also raised his own expectations, talking about how this will be the moment when the ocean levels will fall, when the planet will heal, when we will find good jobs for the jobless.

The Republican National Committee had a lot of fun with that, turning that into an ad showing Moses parting the Red Sea.

So he is building up his expectations a little bit too much as well, and he will have nowhere to go but down.

Wendell Goler pointed this out in his report. President Bush when he came into office famously talked about he would like to be "misunderestimated." Everyone thought there is this dummy Bush, relatively inexperienced Texas governor, mangles the English language, how did we elect this guy?

You then passed the drool test, and you then exceed expectations.

Obama expectations are so high that I don't think he has anywhere to go but down.

HUME: You think, Mort, how much time do you think he gets before people will be hungry for an economic turnaround and disappointed if they don't get it?

KONDRACKE: I think he's got two years.

HUME: Two year--

KONDRACKE: Yes. Ronald Reagan had a huge recession, a deep, deep, but short recession, but, nonetheless, it was very deep in the beginning--

HUME: It didn't last two years. It lasted part of one year and part of another.

KONDRACKE: It didn't last two years, but he has George Bush to blame.

HUME: Two years?

KONDRACKE: We ought to be coming out of it sometime in 2010, yes. I think that's the expectation that he's got that much time. Everybody is saying that it is going to last through 2009 and into 2010, so we ought to be coming out of it 2010.

Look, there are these great expectations. He is the first African-American president. That's part of it. But it's better for the country to go in with a Reaganesque, "Yes we can" attitude, than go into it depressed the way we used to be back in the Carter days.

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