Andrea Mitchell Frets Unpopular Obama Can't 'Frighten' GOP Anymore

On her 1 p.m. ET MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell whined about Senate Republicans blocking some of the President's recent nominees and worried about the impact of Obama's sagging poll numbers: "...in terms of presidential power, polls affect votes....this is diminishing the President's clout, when he can't frighten – you know, have enough political weight to frighten everybody into line to try to peel off some Republican votes." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Noting that one of the nominees was sitting Congressman Mel Watt, NBC senior political editor Mark Murray warned: "You know, this something where we've often seen filibusters, we've seen nominations being blocked, but this is getting into very rare territory here."

At the top of the segment, Mitchell asked Murray what "the most alarming of these numbers" were for Obama in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Murray observed:

Of course people's disgust and dissatisfaction with Washington isn't something that's new, it's actually been present the last four or five years. But what's been notable is how President Obama has often been able to float above that. His numbers have always been higher than everyone else's. But this poll is really the first time in which we see just the weight of all the stories that have been over the past month and a half.

Apparently the media cheerleading for Obama is no longer enough to keep him afloat.


Here are portions of the October 31 exchange:

1:07PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And joining me now, Chris Cillizza, MSNBC contributor and host of PostTV's In Play, and NBC's senior political editor Mark Murray, with a look at a deeper dive into that new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Mark, you've looked through all these numbers. You are the poll maven here at NBC, you and Chuck [Todd]. So what do you think to the White House is the most alarming of these numbers?

MARK MURRAY: Well, the President's numbers, as you just pointed out. Of course people's disgust and dissatisfaction with Washington isn't something that's new, it's actually been present the last four or five years. But what's been notable is how President Obama has often been able to float above that. His numbers have always been higher than everyone else's. But this poll is really the first time in which we see just the weight of all the stories that have been over the past month and a half. The government shutdown, the website's rollout on the health care law, the allegations of the NSA spying have taken a weight on him and have put his approval numbers at an all-time low. But also, as you just mentioned, his favorable/unfavorable for the first time is upside down in his presidency, in fact, in the time that we've been testing him as a political entity in our poll.

(...)

1:11PM

MITCHELL: And the other thing in terms of presidential power, polls affect votes. And just now, by a vote of 56 to 42, Mel Watt – who was proposed for a federal housing agency right under Shaun Donovan, whom we interviewed yesterday about this very thing – he lost his confirmation. So they – it was the same old cloture vote, a procedural vote. Again, basically a filibuster situation where they need 60 votes to do anything. And they're not getting judgeships, important judgeships, district court judgeships. Mark, this is diminishing the President's clout, when he can't frighten – you know, have enough political weight to frighten everybody into line to try to peel off some Republican votes.

MURRAY: Well, and it's worth noting that Mel Watt's a sitting member of Congress. I mean, this is-

MITCHELL: And popular.

MURRAY: You know, this something where we've often seen filibusters, we've seen nominations being blocked, but this is getting into very rare territory here.

(...)

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