Costello related how Freeman "ran into him [Obama] on the golf course and he said, he said he wanted to tell the President to quote, 'Get pissed off, get fighting mad.'" After reporting that New York Times columnist Charles Blow has written about how Obama needs to be tougher, she asked Blow what he thought about Freeman's comment.
Then Costello followed that up with another gem, as she clumsily described the vicious words of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) toward the Tea Party as straight talk about a political enemy. "Somebody who is trying to give it to people straight, perhaps, is Congresswoman Maxine Waters," reported Costello.
[Video below the break.]
Waters came under fire recently for telling the Tea Party to "go straight to hell." While conservative guest Will Cain decried the comments as "obviously not what people are looking for," Costello appeared to be downplaying them. Cain insisted that "We have continued calls for civility and that should apply to everyone."
Costello later referenced a poll showing discontent with the Tea Paty and asked her liberal guest if Waters was trying to fire up the base by firing away at the enemy, the Tea Party. Costello asked Ruben Navarette of the Washington Post "So maybe that is the enemy to latch on to at this particular time, to resonate with voters on the Democratic side that is?"
Charles Blow had first brought up the notion of "straight talk" in his candid commentary on Obama's presidency.
"The President was able to tell America what America wanted to hear in 2008. That changes over time," said Blow. "It's just like, you know, you go to your doctor and sometimes you want your doctor to say, oh don't worry about it, we'll fix it, it's going to be okay But when you keep having to come back and you're still ill, you start to lose faith in the doctor and then you say, doctor give it to me straight."
A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 23 at 7:45 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
CAROL COSTELLO: Well let's talk about the man who is President right now. Of course, he's in Martha's Vineyard. And Morgan Freeman, the actor, ran into him on the golf course and he said, he said he wanted to tell the President to quote, "Get pissed off, get fighting mad." But he added, he knew the President wouldn't do it because it's not politically smart.
Charles, you're one of the people who's been writing that President needs to come out like, hitting harder. So what do you think about Morgan? I know he's an actor but what do you think about what he said?
CHARLES BLOW, op-ed columnist, The New York Times: Well, I mean I disagree to a certain degree. I'm not necessarily advocating he hit harder as much as he needs to figure out a way to connect. Leadership is about leading people, having people follow. If more and more people who would be following you are falling away then you have a problem.
The President was able to tell America what America wanted to hear in 2008. That changes over time. It's just like, you know, you go to your doctor and sometimes you want your doctor to say, oh don't worry about it, we'll fix it, it's going to be okay But when you keep having to come back and you're still ill, you start to lose faith in the doctor and then you say, doctor give it to me straight. How did I get here, what's the problem, you know, how long will I be sick?
That's kind of what America wants to hear now, and the President is having a little bit of time adjusting his messaging to deal with what America wants to hear. That's why you keep hearing rumblings about people like Chris Christie. Because even if you disagree with his politics you kind of feel like the guy is going to give it to you straight.
COSTELLO: That's right. Somebody who is trying to give it to people straight, perhaps, is Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Out in California, she was at a jobs fair and she said the Tea Party can go straight to hell. Is that the kind of thing that voters are looking for?
CAIN: Do I have to answer that?
COSTELLO: Yes, you have to answer that Will Cain.
CAIN: Meaning -- I mean, that should be obvious. No, that's obviously not what people are looking for. We have continued calls for civility and that should apply to everyone. Telling a group of voters that they should go to hell, I don't think kind of fits in that box, Carol. I mean, no.
COSTELLO: But, Ruben, and I'll ask you this question, because I think there's a Gallup poll out and it says 30 percent of Americans don't have favorable opinions of the Tea Party. So maybe that is the enemy to latch on to at this particular time, to resonate with voters on the Democratic side that is?
RUBEN NAVARETTE, columnist, Washington Post: Right. Absolutely. I think it is. I'll disagree with my friend Will. I think it is very much something people want to hear. They wanted people to attack the Tea Party. If you happen to be on the left that's what you want.
But the problem for Obama is, you know, if he were to strike back is he's supposed to strike back at his critics in the black community that are increasing, including Maxine Waters who's saying he's neglecting our inner cities? Or does he strike back at Latino voters where his popularity ratings keep falling? I mean, he has problems that go well beyond the Tea Party here.
A more complex look at the situation tells us that the President's support is withering underneath his feet across the board, even among liberals, parts of his own base. So it's really not a question of the President not being tough enough, he just has to be much more capable and competent in the job he's doing and he's not pulling it off.
CAIN: I just want to say to Ruben, the problem with that analysis on the Tea Party, whether or not that's what people want to hear is, who cares what people want to hear? It's what they should want to hear. The Tea Party has actually given you plenty of substantive ideas and plenty of substantive areas for which to criticize them. There's no need to just say go to hell. It doesn't really get anything accomplished.
COSTELLO: I wish we could continue this conversation.
NAVARETTE: Well, it fires up the base. It fires up the base.
COSTELLO: Yes, it does that. Charles Blow, Will Cain, and Ruben out in California. Ruben Navarette, thank you so much for joining us this morning.