CNN's Jessica Yellin, filling in for host John King on Thursday's "John King, USA," delved into the mystery of Hollywood's disenchantment with President Obama – and wondered if it isn't due to celebrity liberals being "spoiled."
Yellin's guest was outspoken liberal Joy Behar, host of HLN's "The Joy Behar Show" and co-host of ABC's "The View," who believes Obama has more charisma than Lady Gaga.
After playing soundbites from notable Hollywood liberals expressing their frustrations with Obama, Yellin gave her "take" on the situation. "My take is – celebrities like to get everything they want. They're not getting everything they want. So, they're turning on [Obama]."
"Are they just being spoiled?" Yellin asked Joy Behar. This teed up Behar, who answered Yellin in the affirmative and called the celebrity remarks "an exercise in futility." Behar also labeled Obama a "moderate," a favored liberal talking point.
Behar admitted that the liberals have a right to hold Obama's feet to the fire, because "he is a middle-of-the-road president." Yellin didn't dismiss the sentiment, wondering if Hollywood expected Obama to be "more to the left."
"He is not a lefty president, despite what the right wing says about him," Behar insisted. "They keep saying he's a socialist -- that's the biggest joke that he's a socialist."
Behar boasted that Obama has more charisma than Lady Gaga – and certainly much more than "mental midgets" in the GOP. "I look at the Republican side and I see mental midgets over there," Behar said. "I don't see anybody with any kind of charisma. I see nobody who's really as smart as President Obama."
"And I think that [Obama] has more charisma than Lady Gaga, frankly," Behar later added.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 21 at 7:52 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN anchor: President Obama is about to hold a fundraiser in Hollywood, which is a usually reliable piggy bank for Democratic presidential candidates.
But lately, some big stars have been noticeably cooler about President Obama. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT DAMON, actor: I really think he misinterpreted his mandate.
MICHAEL MOORE, filmmaker: I wish he'd start listening to himself and his wife.
ROSEANNE BARR, actress: And the American people who put him there, how about that?
ROBERT REDFORD, actor: Tell President Obama to lead America towards a clean energy future.
SPIKE LEE, film director: And if there's any one time to go off, this is it.
LADY GAGA: We will continue to push you and your administration.
BILL MAHER, comedian: I'm so disappointed that he seems to be another in a long line of Democrats that come across as wimpy, and wussy.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
Joining me now is Joy Behar, as everybody knows, host of HLN's "The Joy Behar Show" and, of course, the co-host of ABC's "The View."
Joy, look, my take is -- celebrities like to get everything they want. They're not getting everything they want. So, they're turning on him. Are they just being spoiled?
JOY BEHAR, HOST, HLN'S "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW": Yes. I think that, you know, at the end of the day, where is the left going to go? So, this is just an exercise in futility, I think.
But they have every right to push him, I suppose, you know. They have to keep pushing him to the left because he is a middle-of- the-road president. He is not a lefty president, despite what the right wing says about him. They keep saying he's a socialist -- that's the biggest joke that he's a socialist.
YELLIN: And they thought they were getting something different. Yes. Maybe celebs thought they were getting someone more to the left. Do you think there's a single biggest issue that's pitting some in Hollywood against him? Is it gay marriage, Guantanamo, the environment?
BEHAR: Well, we are conducting two wars right now.
BEHAR: And we don't have a lot of money. We keep hearing about that. So, I think that the left is annoyed with him about that. They would like him to bring those two wars to an end.
Gay marriage, I think the guy is pro-gay. I think he's working his way towards that. I have more tolerance for him, I think, because I look at the other side -- I look at the Republican side and I see mental midgets over there. I don't see anybody with any kind of charisma. I see nobody who's really as smart as President Obama. What do I see over there? I see that Donald Trump, a reality star, is leading the pack over there.
YELLIN: People might ask, why are -- why do we care if celebrities are turning on Obama? But the truth is, in this election, the president is staking a lot on the youth vote. And celebrities really do have a huge influence on young people, don't they? Or are we overstating that?
BEHAR: Well, I think that President Obama has influence on the youth vote, as we saw when he was elected in the first place. The youth of America came out in huge numbers. And I think that he has more charisma than Lady Gaga, frankly.
I think that President Obama can get the youth vote because he's very funny also, and he's also very smart and engaging. And he does have an optimistic way to look at the world. And I think that young people want to hear that. They don't want to hear we're in debt, we can't get out, it's a misery everywhere. They want to hear somebody. You know, Ronald Reagan, what was that, "Morning in America"?
BEHAR: I think that President Obama will come up with a slogan like that and the young people of America will rally around him again. By the way, can I mention one more thing, Jessica?
BEHAR: Middle America, the main votes in a lot of the red states and the swing states do not like Hollywood. So why -- who cares what Hollywood thinks really at the end of the day?
YELLIN: OK. Amen to that, they'd say in Washington.