Piers Morgan Kisses Up to White House: Obama Has 'Extraordinary' Demeanor

In a Wednesday interview with the White House communications director, CNN's Piers Morgan gushed over President Obama's "extraordinary" demeanor and praised Obama as "confident" and "assured."

"Does he know something we don't? Or is he just quite cool under pressure?" Morgan slobbered to Dan Pfeiffer.

Although the CNN host brought up media scrutiny of Obama and the dissatisfaction of the Wall Street protesters, he made no mention of either the White House's Solyndra scandal or the administration's botched "Fast and Furious" program – two scandals that have made recent headlines.

He did, however, discuss former President Clinton's new book on how to fix the economy.

Morgan pulled a quote from the book where Clinton argued that the American public believing that Republican "intransigence" and "obstruction" hampered Obama's accomplishments could win votes for Obama in 2012.

The CNN host has himself aided the Obama administration thus in the past, by casting the Tea Party as "intransigent" and defending Obama's initial goodwill as something rejected by hyperpartisan Republicans.

In the interview, Morgan also threw Pfeiffer softballs like this one: "What are the kind of words you would like to see as the cornerstone of the next campaign, which have perhaps a better chance of overall success?"

"You know, someone jokingly said to us the other day that our bumper sticker should be: 'Bin Laden's dead, G.M.'s alive'," answered Pfeiffer to laughter from his interviewer.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on November 9 at 9:16 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[9:16]

PIERS MORGAN: What is extraordinary about the President is his demeanor. You know, as all around is in chaos, the President has always maintained a confident and assured demeanor. Does he know something we don't? Or is he just quite cool under pressure?

DAN PFEIFFER: Well, he is quite cool under pressure. It's one of the reasons he got elected, because when the financial system was on the verge of collapse late in the 2008 campaign, he demonstrated his capacity to deal with difficult issues with a clear, steady approach.

And I think that's benefitted him as he's made some very tough decisions here in the White House, whether it's domestic decisions about whether we're going to take the really – politically unpopular decision to save the auto industry, the decision-making he had to make the night that he ordered the operation to get bin Laden, the decisions about the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war.

That's benefitted him. And he has a great confidence in the American people's capacity to understand that the challenges we have and the approach we need to do, to judge things more than just the politics of the moment but what's in the long-term interests of the country.

(...)

MORGAN: Is he disappointed that he hasn't been able to do more in the first term?

PFEIFFER: Oh of course. There's very important things he wants to do that he hasn't been able to do. They've been caught up in partisanship gridlock. He wishes he could – there are more things we could be doing to help people get jobs and help middle-class families. That's what his jobs act is about. It's what he's been pushing for around the country. He wishes he could do those things.

Dealing with, you know, comprehensive immigration reform, things we've pushed for and he wants to do we just haven't been able to get through, which is why it's so important in our view that he gets re-elected, because there's more work to do. The projects that we started in 2008 isn't going to be over in four years. We've got more work to do.

MORGAN: President Clinton's been out and about this week. He's promoting his new book. He has a firm plan there to get America back to work. Is it helpful to have a former Democrat president who's so popular out there giving his version of how to get America back to work, or would you rather he just kept it quiet a bit?

PFEIFFER: No, I –

MORGAN: Put it privately to the president?

(...)

MORGAN: President Clinton also made a point in his book where he says that actually if the American public genuinely believe that one of the reasons why President Obama has not been able to achieve more is because of the intransigence of the Republicans and their deliberate policy of obstruction at every turn, then actually that would be a vote-winner for President Obama.

(...)

MORGAN: You've been a stoic defender of the President, as we would expect. You're employed by him to be so. If you were being candid and critical and revealing perhaps some of the conversations you've had with the President where things haven't gone well, on your scorecard for the first term, where do you beat yourselves up the most? Where do you think you have been least successful?

PFEIFFER: Well, I think – you know, this president came to Washington wanting to change politics here and change the political tone and bring people together. And he has said this publicly. He has been frustrated by his inability to do that. Now you need – it takes two to tango and you need a willing partner. But what we wanted to do when we came in, we talked about this in the campaign all the time, was to break out of the ideological partisan divide that has kept us from doing big things in this country over the last decade or so. We wanted to fix that problem.

And we haven't – he has not been able to do that to the degree he wanted to do it.

MORGAN: Finally, the president fought the last election on hope and change. What are the kind of words you would like to see as the cornerstone of the next campaign, which have perhaps a better chance of overall success?

PFEIFFER: You know, someone jokingly said to us the other day that our bumper sticker should be: "Bin Laden's dead, G.M.'s alive."

(Laughter)

PFEIFFER: Which I think that would be a great bumper sticker and maybe the campaign would sell t-shirts to that effect. But it speaks to the President's character, his capacity to make tough decisions.

And I think we will defend vigorously the change this President has brought. He's changed where the focus is in this country, that we're now focused – you know, we have rules of the road for Wall Street. We're going to fight for the middle class. He has given them tax cuts. He's ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" – we've done big things. And we will defend those things and we will have a debate between the Republicans about where we go from here.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014