Asked to comment on the partisan budget speeches Barack Obama delivered this week, NBC's David Gregory asserted the Democratic president is finding his "groove" by criticizing "crazy" House Republicans.
"I think he's finding a groove where he can both speak to the Left but really court the independent voters we talk so much about," posited Gregory on the April 15 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The "Meet the Press" host went on to characterize Obama's strategy as pitting the "reasoned" president against his "crazy" Republican opponents: "Look, I want to do what these guys want to do. I want to cut government spending. I want to deal with some of the entitlements. But they're crazy, how they're going about it, and I'm going to do it in a more reasoned way and I'm going to seek a little more bipartisan consensus."
Gregory's analysis runs counter to the latest Gallup poll, in which Obama's approval rating dropped to 41percent among all Americans and only 35 percent among independents (H/T ckc1227).
For his part, "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough agreed with Gregory, noting that Obama has been "doing extraordinarily well" at recent campaign fundraisers and may be "finding his voice by running against a Republican Congress."
In his speech on Wednesday at The George Washington University, Obama railed against Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan while the House Budget Committee chairman sat in the front row.
At a Democratic fundraiser last night, Obama slammed House Republicans for attempting to "sneak" their political agenda into the fiscal year 2011 budget.
A testament to Obama's bitter partisanship, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), who co-chaired the president's fiscal commission, told reporters after the speech at GW to "pray for the Gang of Six," referring to a bipartisan group of lawmakers crafting a deficit-reduction plan in the Senate.
A transcript of the segment can be found below:
7:22 a.m. EDT
JOE SCARBOROUGH: We've been talking about how the president is sort of on the front of his feet in these political events and doing extraordinarily well, where he usually seems to be back on his heels sometimes inside the White House. And some evidence of that is fascinating. This is coming from CBS radio correspondent Mark Knoller – this is just coming across the wires – the president didn't know the mic was on during some his statements to people in this Democratic fundraiser last night. And let me read you a quote, and it shows that this president knows how to talk to the base. "I said, you want to repeal health care? Go at it, we'll have that debate. But you're not going to do be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?" And he went on –
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: This is the president we're calling his closed-door negotiations on the bill.
SCARBOROUGH: Right, and he did the same thing talking about Planned Parenthood, saying, "look, bring it to an up or down vote and I'm going to veto it and then good luck overriding it." I'm telling you, this is a president who, I think, I'm sorry I got to make these comparisons, not to Reagan this time, but to Bill Clinton, may be finding his voice by running against a Republican Congress.
DAVID GREGORY, host of "Meet the Press": I was just going to say the same thing because I think he's doing two things, Joe. Look, he's trying to talk to his base and say, "I'm going to fight some of the big fights here. You might be disappointed about certain things. I'm going to take this fight over taxes and the budget and we're going to bring that into next year." And he made that very clear in his speech this week. But he's saying something else. I think he's finding a groove where he can both speak to the Left but really court the independent voters we talk so much about by essentially standing up and saying, "look, I want to do what these guys want to do. I want to cut government spending. I want to deal with some of the entitlements. But they're crazy, how they're going about it, and I'm going to do it in a more reasoned way and I'm going to seek a little more bipartisan consensus." That's the posture at least.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.