CNN’s John King Excuses Poor Obama Poll Numbers: ‘It’s Not All His Fault’

After citing a whole host of issues where President Obama is receiving abysmal approval ratings from Americans, CNN’s John King absolved the commander-in-chief of any blame, arguing that this was typical of recent second-term presidents.

On the August 6 edition of The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer pointed to an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, one that has, thus far, been ignored by the NBC Nightly News, showing Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. handling of the border crisis, Russia, Gaza, and the increasing presence of ISIS in Iraq. King dismissed that this had anything to do with the President: “I'm not blaming the president for this. It's a complicated world and it's not all his fault, but when people look around the world and then look at home, there's not much to cheer about right now.” [MP3 audio here; video below]

Of course, the reaction from the liberal media to poor numbers during the Bush presidency was not “it’s a complicated world.” Instead, journalists routinely faulted the Bush administration on issues like Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.

With President Obama in the White House, the greatest critique Mr. King could offer is that the American people “want success,” that the President can “pick up the phone or call the meeting and get results.”

The relevant portion of the transcript is below. 

CNN
The Situation Room
August 6, 2014
5:11 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER, host: I want to quickly bring in our chief national correspondent, John King – John, let's talk a little bit about the poll, this new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll. Only 40 percent approve of the job the President is doing. Fifty-four percent disapprove. This is – he's gone way down. His high was up in April of '09, 61 percent approved. This is the low point in his presidency right now, as far as this poll and this job approval number.

JOHN KING, CNN chief national correspondent: Right. And just about everything is dragging him down. You always look and say, what is the one thing that's dragging the President down?
Well, there's profound economic anxiety evidenced in this poll, despite some better economic numbers. A big majority of Americans think the country is off on the wrong track. And we've watched, over the last six months to a year, his own numbers on leadership and competence to administer the government drop down.

And, Wolf, if you went through the set of issues and whether they're the global issues right now or the domestic issues right now, the President gets low grades at a very critical point of his presidency, because we're in a midterm election season.

[...]

5:33 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: John King, in this new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the U.S. handling of the immigration, illegal border crossings issue. Eleven percent say they're satisfied, 64 percent say they're dissatisfied. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the U.S. handling of – let's go through some of these other issues. Russia-Ukraine conflict only 23 percent satisfied. Gaza conflict, 17 percent satisfied. ISIS, the terrorist in Iraq, 14 percent satisfied. The immigration border crossings, 11 percent satisfied. On these are major issues, not a whole lot of satisfaction there.

KING: The high point there was 23 percent on Russia-Ukraine. So the world is on fire essentially and include the U.S.-Mexico border in that if you want to include the border issue, and people look for the President of the United States. He's essentially in quick sand right now, politically. His approval rating is down to 40 percent.

People feel very pessimistic about the economy at home. They think Washington is a dysfunctional daycare center and nobody can get anything done. And so as Jim noted a second-term president, we covered the White House together and the second term in the Bill Clinton presidency, they tend to look around the world for a few places to plant the flag.

Yes, the American people do not want military intervention by the United States after Iraq and Afghanistan, but they do want success. They do want to think that their country, whether it's with prime ally like Israel or a prime sometimes adversary like Russia that the President of the United States can be the one to pick up the phone or call the meeting and get results. And I'm not blaming the president for this. It's a complicated world and it's not all his fault, but when people look around the world and then look at home, there's not much to cheer about right now and we have one president at a time who's paying the price.

Connor Williams
Connor Williams
Connor Williams is a contributing writer for NewsBusters.