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CBS Catches Up with Conservatives and Realizes Obama Has 'Credibility' Problem

Long after conservatives and the American people figured it out, CBS on Monday night came to the realization President Barack Obama has a "credibility" problem fueled by the "disconnect" between Obama's promise to reduce the deficit as he pushes for massive new spending. Back in August, the CBS Evening News denigrated the town hall questioners as "unruly protests," but on Monday reporter Chip Reid warned:

The American people are increasingly questioning the President's credibility. He says the stimulus has saved or created 640,000 jobs, but only seven percent of Americans believe it has created any. And he's repeatedly promised health care reform will not increase the deficit, but a mere 19 percent believe him.

Reid proceeded to relay how CBS News analyst John Dickerson "says for many Americans there's a basic disconnect - a President who promises to trim the budget but only seems to want to spend and spend." More amazing for CBS, Reid noted how "highly respected foreign policy analyst Leslie Gelb" called Obama's just-completed Asia trip "'amateur hour' for failing to get deals locked in before the President left home."

Katie Couric set up the story by asking: "Is the honeymoon over? Though President Obama has been in office less than a year, many Americans are growing disenchanted with his handling of the enormous problems he and the country are facing - from unemployment to health care to Afghanistan." She introduced Reid by worrying: "Are there signs of strain apparent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue these days?"

(Meanwhile, over on World News, ABC anchor Charles Gibson fretted over all the "problems" Obama "faces, all coming to a head, it seems, soon. Health care to be debated by the Senate but support could easily unravel, a much delayed presidential decision on more troops for Afghanistan and, on the horizon, the huge ballooning costs of the federal deficit.")

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the story on the Monday, November 23 CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: Turning to politics now, is the honeymoon over? Though President Obama has been in office less than a year, many Americans are growing disenchanted with his handling of the enormous problems he and the country are facing - from unemployment to health care to Afghanistan. His poll numbers are sliding, and at least one poll, Gallup, shows his job approval rating has fallen for the first time below 50 percent. Chip Reid is at the White House tonight. And, Chip, are there signs of strain apparent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue these days?

CHIP REID: There sure are, Katie. The President is getting battered on everything from health care to the economy to foreign policy. Some polls show Americans are increasingly questioning his credibility. It's a speech the President has given over and over-

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA Our economy's growing again for the first time in more than a year.

REID: -emphasizing the good news and promising to fix the bad.

OBAMA: I will not rest until businesses are investing again and businesses are hiring again and people have work again.

REID: But with unemployment over 10 percent and expected to rise for months to come, he offered no new ideas. He says next week's White House jobs summit will break new ground, but critics are already dismissing the summit as a gimmick. To make matters worse, the American people are increasingly questioning the President's credibility. He says the stimulus has saved or created 640,000 jobs, but only seven percent of Americans believe it has created any [CBS News poll]. And he's repeatedly promised health care reform will not increase the deficit, but a mere 19 percent believe him [Quinnipiac poll].

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: The more he talks about these hard issues, the less people are buying it.

REID: Dickerson says for many Americans there's a basic disconnect - a President who promises to trim the budget but only seems to want to spend and spend.

DICKERSON: People want something to be done about the deficit, and here he's talking about spending a trillion more dollars.

REID: All this comes as the so-called debt bomb is getting ready to explode. The national debt is now more than $12 trillion - simply paying the interest on the debt is expected to soar from $200 billion to $700 billion by 2019. The President is also suffering a credibility gap on foreign policy. He called his eight-day Asia trip a "job strategy" but came home with little to show for it. Highly respected foreign policy analyst Leslie Gelb calls the trip "amateur hour" for failing to get deals locked in before the President left home. On Afghanistan tonight, the President holds his ninth meeting with his war council, a full month after Dick Cheney accused him of dithering over the decision - and the President says it's still several weeks away.

REID, AT WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING: Are you concerned that Americans are increasingly looking at this President as simply indecisive and uncertain?

REID: It's a topic that dominated today's White House briefing.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the American people want the President to take time to get this decision right.

REID: But while the President is taking all that time, some Democratic opponents of a troop surge are stealing the spotlight. They're calling for a war tax to pay for any additional troops.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center