Newsweek's Clift Blames Capitalism for Woes Facing Obama

It's a response that might incite laughter, as it did from conservative pundit Monica Crowley and MSNBC paleocon talker Pat Buchanan. According to Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, the current problems facing the country and President Barack Obama are due to capitalism.

Clift, appearing on the syndicated April 26 "The McLaughlin Group" gave Obama high marks for his first hundred days and said Republicans were misguided for attacking the growth of the size of government.

"I give him a B+ because there's a lot of outcomes that haven't come in yet," Clift said. "But look, this isn't about the failure of government and the Republicans are on the wrong tact talking about big government. This is a failure of capitalism. He's trying to save capitalism."

According to Clift, Washington is where the public are seeking answers to problems and she condemned naysayers for their stance on government.

"People are looking to Washington and to government for help," Clift said. "And to argue to get government out of the way makes no sense in this political climate."

Crowley, who is conservative talk show host, scoffed at Clift's suggestion that Obama is trying to save capitalism but pointing to all the policy measures he is pushing.

"He's talking about saving capitalism?" Crowley said. "He's trying to nationalize health care, nationalize the energy sector, he's done a ham-handed effort to nationalize the financial sector, federalizing education - there's no saving capitalism going on. His apology tour on three continents makes the United States look weak. I give him a C."

Clift questioned Crowley's interpretation of nationalization, despite efforts by the federal government to convert their current holdings in bailed out banks from preferred shares of stock to common shares of stock with voting rights that would give the government more say in the day-to-day operation of some institutions.

"You ought to check the dictionary and understand what ‘nationalize' means," Clift fired back.

Jim Warren, the former managing editor for The Chicago Tribune, now an MSNBC contributor, gave Obama a higher grade than even Clift and also dismissed the whole notion that Obama was attempting to nationalize everything.

"The well-reasoned empirical answer to this, Monica, from the heartland is he gets an A," Warren said.  "The fact is he's not trying to nationalize everything. You look at the criticism from the left and you realize that in fact he hasn't gone anywhere near there. He's booted one CEO, the guy from GM and that is it. He's not nationalized the auto industry, he's not taking over Wall Street, and I think he's been rather moderate when that goes.

Warren's remarks come as reports are surfacing that the Obama administration is looking to have Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit removed from his post. However, he gave "Professor" Obama credit for his skill of explaining the issues to the American public.

"And I think stylistically, the most fascinating thing - the most fascinating thing is the way Professor Obama is using the traditional bully pulpit as if it was some teaching lectern. And, I think that at this point is resonating, that is resonating America. And what could that undoing be? That's obvious - it's the economy. He does not own the cause, but he certainly does own the solution."