MSNBC: Obama Having to 'Swat' GOP 'Gnats' That Are 'Swarming Around Him'

On Wednesday's MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports, fill-in co-host Kathleen Matthews, wife of Hardball host Chris Matthews, lamented Republicans distracting President Obama from pushing his liberal agenda: "...the President's got the gnats of August swarming around him, with Ted Cruz out there fighting against ObamaCare. So, hard to kind of keep that message and that kind of – that solid message moving forward while he's having to swat what he probably perceives as some of the gnats..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza laid blame for Obama's failures on just about everything except the President himself: "I actually think that problem is even more exacerbated now because of the rapidity of the news cycle, because of Twitter, because of sort of YouTube, because of all of the ways in which you can get distracted and off message and being forced to respond to things."

Cillizza continued: "It is amazing the power of sort of buzz on the internet can have to distract a president from his message or force him to talk about something else. And that's sort of a unique thing that President Obama is the first sort of Twitter-era, social-media-era president. It makes it even harder, I think."


Here is a transcript of the August 21 exchange:

1:22PM ET

(...)

KATHLEEN MATTHEWS: Let's bring Chris Cillizza in this, because meanwhile the President's got the gnats of August swarming around him, with Ted Cruz out there fighting against ObamaCare. So, hard to kind of keep that message and that kind of – that solid message moving forward while he's having to swat what he probably perceives as some of the gnats, right, Chris?

CHRIS CILLIZZA [WASHINGTON POST]: Well, you know, yes, Kathleen. I mean, I think part of the issue here is that he's – staying on message is sort of always, I think Gene [Robinson] made this point, is always sort of part of being president. It's very difficult, you always have – you have unforeseen things running into what you want to do.

I don't know how many weeks we heard from the President during the 2012 campaign, "This is the week we're pivoting to the economy." Then something else would happen and they wouldn't be able to do it and it would get delayed.  

I actually think that problem is even more exacerbated now because of the rapidity of the news cycle, because of Twitter, because of sort of YouTube, because of all of the ways in which you can get distracted and off message and being forced to respond to things.

I always go back to this, if ever someone told me five years ago, Kathleen and Chris, and Gene and Steve, too, that the President of the United States would go into the White House briefing room with a copy of his birth certificate to say, "Look, I am born in this country" – it is amazing the power of sort of buzz on the internet can have to distract a president from his message or force him to talk about something else. And that's sort of a unique thing that President Obama is the first sort of Twitter-era, social-media-era president. It makes it even harder, I think.  

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC