ABC Sees Obama Losing His Luster in Europe, No More ‘Pure Adulation’

On the March 28 World News Saturday, ABC correspondent John Hendren observed that the "pure adulation" formerly shown for President Obama in Europe has now faded as the President prepares for the G-20 summit in London to convince the group of economic superpowers to adopt his plans to increase spending to stimulate the economy. After anchor Dan Harris introduced the report noting that "Mr. Obama is facing a huge challenge on this trip, convincing reluctant European leaders to rescue the global economy his way," Hendren began his piece:

JOHN HENDREN: "The last time President Obama came to Europe, it was pure adulation. But now, Mr. Obama is President in the midst of a global economic crisis. Next week, he will try to persuade 19 other heads of state that they must sign on to his rescue plan and increase government spending in their own countries as he has here, signing a $787 billion rescue plan. Germany's Angela Merkel has criticized the plan and European Union chief Mirek Topolanek calls it-

MIREK TOPOLANEK, EUROPEAN UNION: -a way to hell.

HENDREN: What a difference a few months make.

Then came a soundbite of conservative ABC News commentator George Will observing that much of Obama’s previous popularity was based on him being an alternative to the unpopular President Bush. Will: "That was then and this is now. Back then, he was not George Bush, capital N, G and B, and that was enough. Second, he was a novelty, African-American, a new figure on the world scene. You can only be a novelty once, then you're a familiar face."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the March 28 World News Saturday on ABC:

DAN HARRIS: President Obama is gonna attend that summit, part of his first overseas trip as President. Mr. Obama is facing a huge challenge on this trip, convincing reluctant European leaders to rescue the global economy his way. John Hendren is in Washington with that story.

JOHN HENDREN: The last time President Obama came to Europe, it was pure adulation. But now, Mr. Obama is President in the midst of a global economic crisis. Next week, he will try to persuade 19 other heads of state that they must sign on to his rescue plan and increase government spending in their own countries as he has here, signing a $787 billion rescue plan. Germany's Angela Merkel has criticized the plan and European Union chief Mirek Topolanek calls it-

MIREK TOPOLANEK, EUROPEAN UNION CHIEF: -a way to hell.

HENDREN: What a difference a few months make.

GEORGE WILL, ABC NEWS COMMENTATOR: That was then and this is now. Back then, he was not George Bush, capital N, G and B, and that was enough. Second, he was a novelty, African-American, a new figure on the world scene. You can only be a novelty once, then you're a familiar face.

HENDREN: European nations, which have stronger safety nets, are less concerned about boosting the economy. They say stronger regulation is the key to a global recovery. Obama's European counterparts are sounding a lot like his Republican critics at home.

SENATOR JUDD GREGG (R-NH): This plan spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.

HENDREN: Obama is relying on Britain's Gordon Brown, the host of the London summit. Whether Brown can bridge the gap is the trillion dollar question.

MARK ZANDI, ECONOMIST: It's not likely we're gonna get any explicit agreement at this meeting, but it will lay the foundation for some efforts that may succeed in weeks, months ahead.

HENDREN: As President Obama pushes the stimulus and tries to repair frayed relations with European allies, he's likely to face staunch opposition on another front, getting the Europeans to send more aid and troops to Afghanistan.