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Halperin: Obama's Done 'Extraordinary Job'; Woodward: He's No European Socialist

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Mark Halperin of Time and formerly with ABC News, hailed President Barack Obama: "He's done, I think, an extraordinary job running the government...under difficult circumstances. He managed the economic crisis and kept the world from going into a depression..." The co-author of the new book, 'Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,' however, didn't see everything as rosy: "The problem has been is he's not inspired the country to feel a sense of optimism and renewal and to be unified in a bipartisan way."

During the same roundtable, the Washington Post's Bob Woodward rejected the notion Obama is any kind of a "European socialist," taking on Charles Krauthammer's characterization:

There was a column The Washington Post Friday in which Charles Krauthammer tried to essentially say he is a European-style socialist because of health care and he's trying to do these other things. Now, I'm trying to do a book on President Obama, and calling him a European socialist is just not even in the ballpark...

Actually, Krauthammer never used the term "socialist" as he contended Obama wishes "to introduce a powerful social democratic stream into America's deeply and historically individualist polity" and the 2008 election "was not an endorsement of European-style social democracy."

From the Sunday, January 17 Meet the Press:

Mark Halperin:

He's done, I think, an extraordinary job running the government, as John [Podesta] said, under difficult circumstances. He managed the economic crisis and kept the world from going into a depression. He staffed the government with very quality, quality people. He showed he could be commander-in-chief and manage these two difficult wars. What I think, ironically, the problem has been is he's not inspired the country to feel a sense of optimism and renewal and to be unified in a bipartisan way. Those are the things I think people thought he would excel at. Those are, I think, are the problems. He's making progress in governance, not necessarily in that bully pulpit leadership.

Bob Woodward:

Who is Barack Obama as President? And, and, and there are people who tried - there was a column The Washington Post Friday in which Charles Krauthammer tried to essentially say he is a European-style socialist because of health care and he's trying to do these other things. Now, I'm trying to do a book on President Obama, and calling him a European socialist is just not even in the ballpark. It's like taking and calling President Bush, because he arranged and worked with Teddy Kennedy on No Child Left Behind, or a prescription drug plan for the elderly, calling George Bush a European socialist, which would be absurd.

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