May 18th, 2010
08:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Dem strategist gives Obama's rhetoric a 'C+'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Democrat Paul Begala called on the president to elevate his rhetoric and hit back harder against Republicans."]
Washington (CNN) – Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala gave President Obama’s appearance in Youngstown, Ohio Tuesday a “C+” on the partisanship scale.

Earlier: Obama rips stimulus opponents

Speaking on CNN’s John King, USA, Begala called on the president to elevate his rhetoric and hit back harder against Republicans or else the Democrats run the risk of losing big in the midterm elections this November.

While discussing how presidential approval ratings can affect a party’s midterm electoral success, Begala explained how former President Ronald Reagan set the standard for the modern era by losing only 28 congressional seats despite sporting a 42 percent approval rating in the 1982 midterms.

“As unemployment went up and Reagan’s approval rating went down, he kept saying liberal economic policies have ruined this country,” Begala said. “And he explained, I’m against taxation and litigation and regulation and I’m for tax cuts and deregulation. He made his case on a philosophical level.

“[President Obama] is uniquely able to do that and so I don’t want him down there at the operational level. I want him to frame up the philosophy that the Democrats and most independents think ruined the country in the eight years the Republicans had the House, the Senate and the White House.”

Filed under: 2010 • JKUSA • John King USA • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Pitt

    The Democrats will not win because they support amnesty for illegal aliens. In addition, they will not win because they do not support SB 1070 and they do not send the troops to the borders. I will not vote for Democrats. Never.

    May 18, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Jerry

    This Begala guy is another turncoat like Lieberman. I mean, he does this right before elections? Please. Be gone, Begala.

    May 18, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. mAKOM

    If you truly want to know what is going on; Then you will have to accept these things as the TRUTH. Once you understand the following things; All things will be understood. So I tell you Obama is the Anti-Christ, Devil on Earth, or what ever else you want to call this Demonic Figure. His words describe him, He is a False Hope, If you listen to him you will love him. He carries a Bow without an Arrow. He will conquer all through his speech, his false hoods will capture all who sit and listen to him.

    May 18, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. chappy4

    It is Obama's rhetoric that got him into this mess he is in, and, Mr. Begala, Obama is no President Regan, rendering your comparison moot.

    May 18, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. Dan

    Paul Begala!
    The extreme partisan straight A+ grader of Obama, gives a C+ !!!
    This is refreshing to see how reality sinks in with messianic democrats!

    May 18, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  6. TheVeteran

    I agree. If he does not frame the failures of the last 8 years on cheap money with little or no oversight, and if he does not place the philosophy of deficit spending where it belongs (on the Republicans), and if he does not make the case to Americans that he had to spend what he did in order to put us on solid ground for the future, then we deserve to lose seats.

    Why? It is the truth, and if he does not let the people know the truth, that would be a shame.

    May 18, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  7. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Liberal fuzzy math again the democrats controlled the house and senate from january 2007 to the present how did we have 8 years of total republican control? You probably just don't want to admit your spineless party didn't have the guts to shut down president Bush and end the wars with congressional authority or accomplish anything else meaningful. Democrats what the hell are they good for? It's time to give the libertarians a chance to clean up the the republican and democrats mess.

    May 18, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. Terry

    We change presidents every four (4) or eight (8) years, and we allow the same procrastinators, called congressman or senator, to remain in Washington, doing nothing more than name calling, denial of responsibility, and to collect donations from PACS and Lobbyists who buy votes like average people buy groceries. We need TERM LIMITS, that send these people home. With fresh faces we gain fresh ideas, and when you know that you have four or eight years to get your job done, maybe you get off your butt, roll-up your sleeves, and work for the American People. Send a message – GO HOME!

    May 18, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. November

    If rhetoric is all you've got, then we don't have much running the country. 'Cause that ain't enough to fix things. And it may just contribute to making things worse.

    May 18, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. ib

    people are finally waking up to what this president is doing to our freedoms in this country. I hope for the sake of our country the democrats and gop members who went along with Obama are voted out in Nov.

    May 18, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  11. John

    Begala is absolutely right. The president needs to take off the gloves and hit the Republicans hard over what a mess they have made of everything in the eight years they had complete control of all branches of government. He certainly has plenty to use against them and believe me if the situation were reversed they would already be attacking the president.

    May 18, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Ohhiya

    Ronald Reagan was also shot in the heart(or a 1/4 from according to doctors) by a would be assassin. Obviously the american people disliked but also didn't want to prevoke the anti-christ..... ahhhh the 80's

    May 18, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |

    I am belived that obama have too much problems

    May 18, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. John D

    I think you're giving him a couple points more than this criminal deserves. He should be impeached for High Crimes and Treason!

    May 18, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. Larry

    CNN needs to stop calling Begala a democratic strategist.

    May 18, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. Obama the liar

    I give an A+ for lies to the American people.

    May 18, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. tess

    wrong begala – it's all yours now! bush has been gone over a year. it's time the dems looked at their president as the reason we as a country are going to hell in a handbasket, fiscally, socially , internationally and in every way that means anything to americans. when the dems decide to place the blame where it belongs and articulate that – the bleeding Might stop! i just hope they don't catch on and we beat the living crap out of them in november!!!!!!!!

    May 18, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  18. Myron

    Every since I head Paul Begala calling on the Democrats to abandon the "Party of No" strategy against the Republicans - by far the Dems' most effective critique - I lost a little bit of respect for his strategy suggestions. I think the game may have passed him by.

    I think the Dems will hold both chambers. But in any case, Obama sounding like a partisan hack is not going to help one way or the other.

    Obama and Reagan are two different people. Obama's approval is hovering at 50 percent, so I don't really know what Begala is talking about.

    May 18, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. Chee

    C+? Mr Obama has done in 1 1/2 years more than the last President did in 8 years. He reversed the damagesdone in the last 8 years faster than anybody thought possible – domestically and internationally.
    All people do is complain and moan. We're blessed to have this guy as our President.

    May 18, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All in time, all in time as we watch the Republican party demise. We'll have more on our side to support why Democrats are the people's party.

    May 18, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. silvertop

    prez Obama campaigned as a uniter and talked a lot about civility. Yet every time I watch him speak, he rips, scolds, calls out, attacks anyone who opposes his policy, to the point of appearing unbecoming for a man in his position. Where is the dignity?
    And Begala wants him to elevate his rhetoric and hit back harder. I do not like to see our president as a raging bull.

    May 18, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  22. art in kingwood

    If Begala says C+ Obama must be at F-.

    May 18, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  23. jmack

    A party member gives B. Hussein a C+! Wow, what an endorsement.

    May 18, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  24. Trythefacts

    So, is Begala wanting the president to tell more lies???? The only way he has been able to talk has been with a lot of lies.

    May 18, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Lou from CT

    I think Mr. Begala is being a bit hard on Mr. Obama. Considering the opposing rhetoric, Mr. Obama has done a good job in "hitting back" at a level that does not make him seem confrontational. To ratchet up the rhetoric would make Mr. Obama look argumentative.
    Now if I could only get employed again...

    May 18, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
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