Ex-NBC News Chief Gartner: People Don’t Blame Obama ‘for Anything That’s Wrong in This Country’

Asked how Iowans view President Barack Obama, Michael Gartner, the President of NBC News from 1988 to 1993, insisted on this weekend’s Bloomberg TV’s Political Capital: “I think people have a fondness for him and I don’t think people blame him for anything that’s wrong in this country,” except, that is, “the far-right of the Republican Party.”

For the Bloomberg TV show which first runs on Friday nights, Al Hunt interviewed Gartner, an Iowa native, at a game of the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs which Gartner co-owns.

From the end of the August 12 Bloomberg interview:

AL HUNT: What kind of shape is Barack Obama in for the 2012 campaign in Iowa?

MICHAEL GARTNER: I think he’s in pretty good shape. First of all, people out here have an attachment to him because he was out here. I think people have a fondness for him and I don’t think people blame him for anything that’s wrong in this country, unless – I think the far-right of the Republican Party does, but I don’t think the moderates do and certainly the Democrats don’t. He generally shows up quite well in Seltzer’s Iowa poll.

That’s the Des Moines Register’s “Iowa Poll” and in the latest one Obama ticked up to a 48 to 47 percent approval over disapproval, so unless Gartner thinks 47 percent of Iowans are part of the “far-right,” a lot more than just them blame Obama for something.

Gartner’s had a long career in journalism, including top editor of the Des Moines Register and Louisville Courier-Journal and, after his stint running NBC News, a time in charge of Iowa’s Ames Daily Tribune where he won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

Liberal editorials, that is, based on the kind of columns he composed for USA Today where he was a columnist in the mid-1990s. An April of 1997 MRC CyberAlert compiled some of his liberal pontificating, such as:

From the October 17, 1995 USA Today:

It's nice, of course, if we have a President we like. But there's more to governing than likability. We learned that from the likable Ronald Reagan, who charmed us with stories as he amassed huge deficits and spent billions on goofy defense plans. No, the record is more important. And Bill Clinton's record is just short of terrific.

From June 11, 1996:

How can anyone argue that Bill Clinton has not been a good President? Business should love him. The country has been in a controlled boom since he bludgeoned through by one vote his first economic package....Workers should love him. There are more jobs than ever....Minorities should love him. He has a terrific record of appointing women and minorities to judgeships and high federal posts. He has put civil rights back on the table after 12 years of Republican neglect....

No, it makes you wonder what the President and his wife could have accomplished these four years if they had not been consumed by these scandals, these lawsuits and these clippings. By almost any measure, the past four years have been spectacular for many Americans. Still, if Bill Clinton had been a full-time President, if Hillary Clinton had been a full-time First Lady...

Would the poor be a little richer? Would the old be a little healthier? Would the young be a little smarter? Would the nation be a little more prosperous? Would the world be a little less troubled? You wonder. And you wonder if he wonders.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center